Sept. 15, 2012; Bronx, NY, USA; Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Jeff Keppinger (7) singles to left during the seventh inning at Yankee Stadium. Yankees won 5-3. Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-US PRESSWIRE

Rays Notes: Rays “Aggressive” on Keppinger, Have Edge Over Red Sox for Wil Myers?

This entire offseason, it has seemed like the Rays would let Jeff Keppinger leave as a free agent. But in wake of Keppinger’s recent calf injury that required surgery, Buster Olney of ESPN sent out a very interesting tweet.

Why would the Rays be so interested in Keppinger after his surprise breakout season that appeared to price him out of the Rays’ budget? The answer has to be either that the Rays had an entire season to look at Keppinger and may have picked up some real breakthrough that gives him a chance to be a better player moving forward or that Keppinger liked his time in Tampa Bay enough to potentially offer the Rays some type of discount. The Rays need to find a way to fill the offensive void left by Keppinger, and who better than Keppinger himself at the right price?

A player that has been mentioned as a possible return in a James Shields trade is the Royals’ top prospect and arguably the top prospect in baseball, outfielder Wil Myers.  We’ll discuss just how hard the Rays should pursue acquiring Myers in a little over an hour, but Ken Rosenthal provided an interesting insight in his a recent column. A pitcher that has been paralleled to Shields as another player the Royals could potentially acquire for Myers is the Red Sox’ Jon Lester, and Rosenthal points out that Shields has been much better than Lester the last two seasons, and despite being a little over two years old than Lester, his trade value in the Royals’ minds could very well be higher than Lester. We’ll have to see that ends up making a difference as trade talks progress.

Tags: Featured James Shields Jeff Keppinger Popular Tampa Bay Rays Wil Myers

  • Michael Engel

    While I recognize the Royals have to get another pitcher to look at all legit, you’ll permit me to hope that we don’t send Myers to you guys, yes? :)

    (I also know to get ANY Rays starter KC would have to make a painful trade – but I really REALLY really REALLY don’t want them to do this Shields for Myers move.)

    • Jason Nereim

      I’ve completely given up on how to value Myers in a trade. I’ve read about Hellickson straight up, how Shields is/is not enough alone, Royals/Rays have to throw more in, Price for Myers plus a low prospect..I give up. I can site Victor Wang’s studies about how Myers should be worth 36.5 million of value till I’m blue in the face but those ideas only exist in a vacuum. There are twice as many 4 war positional players as pitchers and the starting pitching market this winter is bleak, so that means pitching, so that means pitching carries more value, right? Right?? Then again do we overlook Myers strike out problems and buy into him being the next Matt Holliday? Is he so special that he breaks all of the rules of what logically make sense? I don’t know…I give up

      • Michael Engel

        Yeah, I know that feeling. Seems every idea out there contradicts another. Some think Myers for someone is a slam dunk, some laugh it off. Same thing on the Red Sox/Lester half of this rumor. I saw one commenter say the Royals would have to include either Escobar or Hosmer to make it fair…


        The one thing I’d note about Myers is that his power was a choice this year. He changed his stance and swing path with that in mind. I have a feeling if he wanted to swat things the other way and cut down those strikeouts he’d be able to do so. Great strike zone judgment, as long as he can spit on the good offspeed junk.

        I hope the Royals don’t trade him, but they’re going way out of their way to get rid of Chen or Hochevar to get some payroll room – though they could do that just for the purpose of signing Haren or Marcum just the same as if they had a trade close.

        • Jason Nereim

          RJ Anderson had a great write up over at baseball prospectus about Myers. Basically said there aren’t many flaws in Mayer’s game. Biggest concern is lack of aggressiveness at the plate, essentially taking hittable pitches in order to get deeper in counts, and overall lack of energy at the plate and on the field.

          Another big question mark surrounds his absurdly high babips and whether he can sustain that in the majors with a major league defense Fielding balls.Generally it’s easier to sustain a high babip with a high gb% which generally doesn’t coexist with above average power, which is what makes his offensive performance last season seem unrepeatable. His fb /hr% must have been insane, probably over 20%.

          • Michael Engel

            Werner Park is pretty favorable to right handed hitters, but I’m not so worried about his BABIP. He homered a lot and struck out a lot, so he didn’t put a lot of balls in play anyway, so if he gets decent hits otherwise, yeah it’ll just be high.

            It’s been pretty high at every level and his LD% has been very stable. So I don’t know that he’s gonna be in the .400s with his BABIP but I think he’ll be able to be around the .320 area

            I don’t think he’s going to be a 35-40 homer guy right away but 20 and 40 doubles and some kind of .280/.360/.440 ish line is not out of the question. His HR/FB% was probably pretty high though – I’d agree with that. He had a good amount clear the fence by just a few feet, so he got a bit lucky, but those would have been doubles at least anyway.

          • Jason Nereim

            Ld% and babip are both likely to fluctuate for most players. Very few players can sustain high levels for either year after year. Again, minor league defense generally doesn’t compare but above average bat speed, which Myers possesses, can lead to harder hit balls and thus a higher babip. Maybe this is the case, who knows. The biggest factor will be how quickly he can adjust if he continues to be too passive and tries to just Jack the ball out. Major league pitchers will eat him alive with that approach. Like you said, if he takes a more conservative two strike approach and drives the ball to the other field we could see an improved k% but a drop in power, which is a perfectly acceptable outcome.

            As an intelligent Royals fan, what realistic trade scenerios could you see working out between the Rays and Royals? I still think Hellickson would be the best target for the Royals. Royals have about a 4 year window with their offensive core and he would fit that window perfectly. Still has massive upside yet every casual fan points to his average k/9 yet overlooks his well above average swk%. Even with stellar command, he nibbles too much which leads to higher pitch counts and walks. Lastly, much like Weaver and Cain, induces a high rate of weak contact which doesn’t supplement a high babip, making him look “lucky.”