Tampa Bay Rays and Kansas City Royals Intertwined History

By Kasey Kuhrts
Brett Phillips Tampa Bay Rays (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Brett Phillips Tampa Bay Rays (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /
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That brings us to the big one. It all went down December 9, 2012. You should remember, but if you don’t I will refresh your memory.

Lets start with what the Royals got. For my money, James Shields was a top-five player to ever wear a Tampa Bay Rays uniform.

“Big Game James” spent seven years in Tampa, highlighted by a 2011 AL All-Star campaign when he was 16-12 with a 2.82 ERA. What’s incredible, Shields had 11 complete games that season.

But for the sake of the trade, let talk about his Royals career. Shields only spent two seasons in Kansas City, but he was good. Shields made an incredible 68 starts in those two seasons, something that isn’t even imaginable these days.

“Complete Game James” had a 27-17 record with the Royals with a 3.18 ERA. He was an important member of the 2014 American League Champion Royals, but he wasn’t a member of the 2015 World Series Champion Royals.

James Shields Kansas City Royals
James Shields Kansas City Royals (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images) /

However, someone who was a member of the 2015 World Champs was the second player in the deal, Wade Davis.

When he was a member of the Tampa Bay Rays Wade Davis was a starter, and it didn’t work. In his first year with the Royals he was a starter, it still didn’t work.

In 2014 the Royals decided to move Davis to the pen, and it worked. Davis had a 1.00 ERA in 72 innings out of the Royals bullpen. Something nobody saw coming.

In his final two years with the Royals in 2015 and 2016 Davis was an AL All-Star. In those two seasons he pitched to a 1.30 ERA with 44 saves in 110.2 innings. He also did this

After a year with the Chicago Cubs, and three with the Colorado Rockies Davis has found his way back to the Royals this season.

Elliot Johnson started the 2013 season with the Royals, but was waived in August of that season.

Now, the Tampa Bay Rays side

Let’s start with what you might not know. Patrick Leonard never played in the MLB.

Mike Montgomery never played in the MLB for the Tampa Bay Rays. But he is a legend in Chicago.

Yes, that’s him getting the last out of the 2016 World Series for the Chicago Cubs. Anyone notice Tampa Bay Rays legend Ben Zobrist in both clips?

I can’t say Odo had the best years of his career with the Tampa Bay Rays, but he was a solid member of the rotation for five seasons. In those seasons Jake Odorizzi was 40-37 with a 3.82 ERA. His best season was in 2016 when he was 10-6 with a 3.69 ERA.

The Tampa Bay Rays traded Odorizzi to the Twins in February of 2018 in a move I didn’t like. I still don’t like it,

Now, Wil Myers. I will start by saying Wil Myers is my favorite current MLB player, and I think the Tampa Bay Rays getting rid of him was maybe the worst move in franchise history. With that, the facts.

At the time they acquired “Wil the Thril” he was one of the highest rated prospects of all time. He bursted onto the scene with the Tampa Bay Rays in 2013. Myers made his debut in Fenway Park, I remember it well.

Myers hit his first career home run in Yankee Stadium on the same road trip. It was grand.

He then made his debut at Tropicana Field, and homered in his first game.

Wil Myers Tampa Bay Rays
Wil Myers Tampa Bay Rays (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images) /

Myers finished his rookie season with a .293 batting average, 13 home runs, 53 RBI’s, and a .354 on-base percentage. Those stats were good enough to win Myers the 2013 American League Rookie of the Year with 87% of the votes.

Myers did take a step back in 2014. He saw his average dip drastically, all the way to .222. Myers only hit six home runs in 2014 and had a nearly 25% strikeout percentage. Was it a sophomore slump, or was he a bust?

The Tampa Bay Rays decided bust.

In a massive trade in December of 2014 the Rays sent Myers to the Padres in a three-team trade that also included the Nationals.

So get this, the Nationals acquired Trea Turner from the Padres. If only we could have got him. Instead we got Jake Bauers, Rene Rivera, Burch Smith, Travis Ott, and Steven Souza Jr.

So, what happened from there? Myers is still in San Diego, he was a 2016 NL All-Star, and has been a staple in the Padres lineup for seven seasons.

None of the players the Tampa Bay Rays acquired in the deal are still in the organization.