It’s almost incomprehensible to imagine the Rays without James Shields. Shields has been a dependable starter for the Rays as far back as 2006 and is the franchise leader in wins, innings pitched, strikeouts, complete games, shutouts, and so many other categories. And the past two years, he has been even better, blossoming into one of the best pitchers in baseball to lead the Rays to a magical playoff run in 2011 and a 90-win season in 2012. But now, he’s gone. Last night, Shields was traded along with Wade Davis to the Kansas City Royals for three of the Royals top prospects, outfielder Wil Myers, right-hander Jake Odorizzi, and lefty Mike Montgomery, and also promising Rookie ball third baseman Patrick Leonard. Myers has clear superstar potential and Odorizzi and Montgomery are also very talented, so the Rays look to improve in the long-term with this move (more analysis on the trade later today). But it still hasn’t sunk in that the Rays will move on without a pitcher who has been a franchise cornerstone and everyone’s first reaction was disbelief.
Just woke up and saw the WD-40 and juego G are now kc Royals?!? Holy frijoles!!
Even almost 12 hours later, the news is only starting to register. But everyone realizes that what’s done is done, and that they will have to move on without Shields.
It’s all still true…it was awesome being both wd’s and big games teammates!! They will both be missed
— David Price (@DAVIDprice14) December 10, 2012
Not looking forward to facing Juego & WD-40 next season…those guys are good. #baseballbusiness
Shields is ready to start a new chapter in his career, but still can’t believe it’s over for him in Tampa Bay.
— Marc Topkin (@TBTimes_Rays) December 10, 2012
Rays Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman and president Matthew Silverman talked about the trade to Marc Topkin.
“We’re always trying to thread the needle,” executive vice president Andrew Friedman said. “As an organization, we rely more on contributions of our young players than basically anyone else in baseball. And with this trade, we’re hoping to replenish our system and add a lot of players we feel like can help us sustain this run of success that we’ve had for the last five years.”
“Personally I think this is the most difficult trade we’ve made to date,” he said. “Both guys were drafted and developed here, they’ve been key players in this organization’s turnaround and they’re both really high-quality people. It’s a painful loss for our club, but I’m confident in our resilience and the talent that will be returning to the field next season.”“As you know we’re always cognizant of our financial situation and we’re managing it with every transaction we make, whether it s a trade like this or it’s signing a player to a contract like we did with Evan (Longoria) just a little bit ago,’’ team president Matt Silverman said. “We run this team as if we’re balanced on the head of a pin, and there’s very little margin for error. I’d say zero margin for error. We’ve accepted that, we understand that and it factors into all the decisions we make. As Andrew said, this isn’t an easy one. None of them are easy, but when you’re talking about two guys who have the history with this franchise, two guys who are so additive to our current club, it’s a tough decision to make. But it’s one that we feel that we have to make as we look ahead for the next several years trying to sustain the success that we’ve had.’’