To start with, take a deep breath. The Tampa Bay Rays are seemingly about to deal Wil Myers, the face of the franchise’s future after they acquired him in the James Shields deal, but everything is going to be fine. This isn’t the start of the Rays rebuilding and this isn’t an indicator that Matt Silverman and the Rays front office has lost their minds. The Rays made a good baseball and there was reason for them to do a Wil Myers trade right now.
The first big thing to note is that the Rays would not be trading Myers at any price if they did not think that something was wrong. That brings us to the obvious question: what is Myers’ issue? Actually, there are a few things to talk about. Myers has looked helpless against breaking pitches the last two years, especially ones down and away, with no signs of overcoming them. He even looked weak against fastballs this season as pitchers threw them to him up and out of the zone and consistently got him to chase.
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Myers still has incredible raw power–no one is doubting that–but teams know how to beat him now and it is questionable whether he will ever be able to harness it on a regular basis. In addition, if he doesn’t become that high-average, 25-30 homer hitter, he simply does not provide you with much value. He looked a little better defensively this season, but will never resemble a Gold Glover, and he doesn’t steal many bases either. Myers’ entire game is built around his bat, and now that is in question. That is why the Rays would deal Wil Myers.
As alluded to before, the fact that Myers is on the market implies that the Rays do not believe he will ever get much better. When you believe that you truly have that transcendent talent, you would not trade him no matter what teams offer you. Clearly the Rays believe that Myers has fallen from that perch, and this is their last chance to get “potential superstar” value in return for him.
The San Diego Padres–or whoever gets Wil Myers in the end–should be worried about the Rays being willing to trade him. There is some serious adverse selection going on here–the Rays know more about Myers that the potential buyers, and that could set them up to get far more value in exchange for him than he is truly worth.
There is always the chance that the Rays are wrong and that this Wil Myers trade turns out to be a disaster for them. But as you look at the return the Rays get for Myers, remember that there is a high probability that the Rays are right and that this trade will look like brilliant at this time next year. The Rays know more than us and than the other teams, and that advantage will prove critical as they execute this deal.