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Tampa Bay Rays: Watching James Shields, Wil Myers in San Diego

By Andrew Garrison
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The Tampa Bay Rays have let a lot of their former stars leave throughout the last few offseasons. James Shields was one of the first as he was traded alongside Wade Davis to the Kansas City Royals. Shields had a huge impact on the Tampa Bay Rays in his seven seasons as a player who both led through example and was a teacher for the younger pitchers. He would consistently earn double-digit wins and deliver over 200 innings per season.

When Shields was traded, he joined a Royals team on the verge of becoming a dominant force in the American League Central. As we know, they got as far as Game 7 of the World Series in 2014. Shields was a major factor in the Royals success throughout the regular season as delivered a 14-8 record, a 3.21 ERA, and 227 innings pitched. Shields left the Royals to pursue a bigger contract and he got one from the the San Diego Padres.

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James Shields was thought of so fondly by the Padres that he got the nod for Opening Day. Shields would pitch pretty well in his first start. In six innings he struck out eight, walked two and allowed two earned runs on six hits. He did allow a monster home run to Adrian Gonzalez of the Los Angeles Dodgers in the fourth inning, but he settled down for the rest of the game. Unfortunately, Shields’ efforts did not result in a victory as the Padres bullpen couldn’t stop the dangerous Dodgers offense and they lost 6-3.

In his second start, Shields was even better. In seven innings of work he held the San Francisco Giants to three hits, one run, and struck out seven Giants. With the victory, Sheilds earned his 115th win of his career. We know about Shields’ history of winning, but there just might be quite a few more strong seasons in his future as well.

One of the Rays’ acquisitions from the Shields trade was outfielder Wil Myers. He had a wonderful introductory season to the Rays, hitting .293 with 13 home runs and 53 RBI on his way to the AL Rookie of the Year award. It seemed that Myers’ reputation as one of the top hitting prospects in the game was entirely deserved.

However, like the majority of the Rays in 2014, Myers struggled offensively. His average plummeted to .222 for the season, and that would mark the end for him in Tampa Bay. The Rays traded Myers to the Padres trying to rebuild the team’s offense. The Rays would acquire catcher Rene Rivera, right-haner Burch Smith, and first base prospect Jake Bauers in that deal.

In his debut with the San Diego Padres, Myers went 0 for 3 with two strikeouts. He would provide some offense late in his second game. Myers may have been 1 for 5 on the contest, but his one hit was an RBI single that helped lead the Padres to a 6-3 victory over the Dodgers. Myers would finish his first Padres-Dodgers series going 1 for 5 in the rubber match, and he finished with a mere .154 average on the new season.

In the second series of the season, the Padres played the San Francisco Giants and Myers fared much better. He’s already tallied four RBIs for the Padres and looks to be turning the corner towards a brighter 2015. Whether he gets there remains to be seen, but the Padres acquired him from the Rays believing that his results would approach his 2013 statistics.

It is interesting that both James Shields and Wil Myers ended up on the Padres, and Tampa Bay Rays fans should be following to see what kind of impact they can have on their new club. Here’s hoping that these two former Rays will continue to find success and victories in the National League while that the players traded to the Rays can become staples in their lineup.

Next: Tampa Bay Rays: Optimism Within Reason About Tim Beckham

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