When the package the Royals gave up for the James Shields and Wade Davis was announced, I was surprised, to say the least. I thought, like many others did, that the Royals surrendered way too much for Shields and that the deal would help Tampa Bay for years to come.
The pros and cons of Wil Myers have been discussed ad nauseam, and I will not go into too much detail regarding Myers other than to say that he is a stud prospect. Myers should have been able to net them a much better pitcher, but you've already read that in other places so no need to rehash that.
The next name that caught my attention was Royals pitching prospect Jake Odorizzi. The peculiar thing regarding Kansas City's trading of him is that he is a Major League ready 3/4 starter, meaning that he would have had tremendous value to them and would've prevented them from having to overpay for guys like Jeremy Guthrie and Ervin Santana (oh wait...).
The 22-year old Odorizzi pitched at Double-A and Triple-A this past season, posting FIPs of 2.20 and 4.19 at each level. He made two starts for the Royals in September, posting an ERA of 4.91 in those starts.
A quick look at the small sample of pitch f/x data that is available for Odorizzi shows that he throws his fastball at 91-92 MPH, and mixes in a slider, change-up, and curveball.
Although the sample is small, it appears as though he uses the change-up more against left-handers, while his slider is the pitch of choice for righties. He mixes in the curveball in to keep hitters off balance as that pitch sits around 73-74 MPH. In his two September starts, Brooks Baseball did not identify one change-up to a right-handed hitter, nor did they identify any sliders to left-handed hitters.
It should be interesting to see what Tampa Bay does with Odorizzi, as he uses his slider heavily against righties, and as Jon pointed out the Rays are not the biggest slider fans in baseball.
The Rays also received third base prospect Patrick Leonard, who I had the fortune of seeing on multiple occasions in the Appalachian League this year. He has interesting pop with the bat, with potential to hit 15-20 HRs in my opinion. I don't think he will provide any surplus value with the glove at third, but I could see the defense being tolerable there. I definitely like the addition of Leonard, as he could certainly be of value to the team in a few years.
The final player that was acquired was Mike Montgomery, former top prospect in the Royals' system and current enigma. On one hand it is hard not to see mid-90s heat from a 6'4 left-handed frame and drool, but after pitching so poorly this season he was demoted to Triple-A, his stock has certainly taken a hit.
I personally love the acquisition of Montgomery by the Rays, as they can take a flyer on him and hope they can work their pitcher-magic and get him back on track. Even though it is going to be a tall task reviving his career as a starter, he could always bring value as a reliever, throwing mid-90s and that potentially playing up in shorter stints.
So I think it is fair to say that Tampa probably comes out on top here, but I would like to speak a little bit about the Royals perspective.
Obviously this article doesn't factor in the fact that the Royals got James Shields, and I think that is important. Whether or not people think the Royals gave up too much, they still got back one of the better pitchers in the games, without surrendering any Major League talent to do so. I wouldn't go as far as calling it a desperation move by Dayton Moore, as others have, but I certainly think there is a sense of urgency here. The thing is- there should be, and whether or not the move itself makes sense, I applaud a GM having the guts to cash in on their farm system depth and take a chance.
I can't say how often I would be enraged at the fact that the Mets would balk at the asking price for a big-time player, citing not wanting to give up such "future stars" as Fernando Martinez (no), Wilmer Flores (probably not a star), and Jon Niese (okay you win). Eventually you have to take a chance, and even if it is ill-fated or not you have to credit Dayton Moore for doing just that.
Whether or not it works out, that's for time to tell.