There's a reason the Wil Myers trade is called the Wil Myers trade, right?
I mean, 11 players were traded between three teams and most headlines revolve around Myers becoming a Friar. He's at the very least the poster child of the deal.
This is far from hard-hitting analysis, but Myers is one of those players that is fun to watch. Arguably the centerpiece of the haul that James Shields earned the Rays, he seemed to be well-liked and part of a young corp in Tampa. Not to mention, occasional comparisons to franchise face Evan Longoria, which definitely don't hurt your portfolio.
But what did the Rays end up getting for their up-and-coming outfielder not named Kevin Kiermaier? In total, the Rays acquired OF Steven Souza, 1B Jake Bauers, P Burch Smith, P Travis Ott and C Rene Rivera, while sending P Jose Castillo, P Gerardo Reyes and C Ryan Hanigan along with Wil Myers to the Padres.
You (and Jordan Zimmermann) might remember Steven Souza as this fellow:
The 25-year old outfielder is the one that sealed the deal in Jordan Zimmermann's no-hitter in the last game of the season. A lot of this is happenstance, but this is how baseball lore works. Right time; right place or vice versa.
The question still stands; why did Wil Myers get traded? The Rays probably felt very little pressure to deal him away. In fact, it might make more sense at this time to be dealing away players like Evan Longoria and building around Wil Myers. He's still only 24 and has had a 2.4 fWAR season. On top of the additional prospects the Rays acquired, it's because Steven Souza might actually be better.
On May 30, Wil Myers suffered a wrist injury that kept him out of the lineup for the following two months. In the first two months, Myers had a fairly-to-below average .126 ISO. In the previous season, it was a very respectable .186. Since the wrist injury, in only 137 plate appearances, Myers' isolated power dwindled to an abysmal .055. Also, Myers' wOBA took a sizable hit, shrinking from .300 to .235.
Granted, players get better and one can certainly hope for a full recovery from Myers. But wrist injuries are very difficult to recover from fully. For instance, since having surgery on his wrist, Mark Teixeira has had a .182 ISO, down from his career average of .243. Obviously I wouldn't hinge Myers' fate on a comparison to a player a decade older than him, but I do understand the Rays desire to move him.
In contrast, at AA in 2013, Steven Souza had an ISO of .256 in 323 PA. Impressive but just AA you say? Fair point I would reply, but Souza's AAA numbers indicate much the same: .240 ISO, .448 wOBA over 407 PA. And, just to tease you, in a teeny, tiny, eeny, weeny, probably-shouldn't-be-said-it's-so-small sample of 26 PA in the majors, his ISO is .261. Which is much, much higher than Wil Myers.
So, on top of the prospects the Rays got in return from the Padres, the prize of the deal might actually be the outfielder they got from the Washington Nationals. Steven Souza may not have the appeal of once being a top ranked prospect (although he was ranked as high as 10th in the Nationals system by Baseball America) but Rays fans could happily get behind this trade when it works out in their favour. To me, no move this off-season teaches us the power of narrative over statistics better than last week's Wil Myers + 10 other guys that aren't Wil Myers trade.
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All statistics courtesy of FanGraphs.
Michael Bradburn is a Contributor for Beyond the Box Score. You can follow him on Twitter at @mwbii. You can also reach him at email@example.com