Royals-Rays trade: The quandary of trading top prospect Wil Myers

Matt Ryerson-US PRESSWIRE

Royals fans will likely wake up Monday wondering how to feel about the late-night trade between the Rays and the Royals.

To deal or not to deal? That's the primary question facing down Dayton Moore and his staff this entire offseason as they considered what to do with uber-prospect Wil Myers.

The Kansas City Royals were also facing the prospects of another long season without anything resembling a staff ace. Luke Hochevar never turned the corner, and thoughts of another Opening Day with Bruce Chen-types taking the mound were uninspiring to everyone involved. It was no secret the Royals were on the hunt for another live arm, someone to anchor the rotation for a team sorely lacking an ace. The only question is how much were they willing to pay.

Wil Myers was the chip often tossed around. It wasn't that the Royals were taking his talents for granted. That much was clear to everyone, so there's no denying the incredible power that he possesses. The Minor League Player of the Year according to most publications and media outlets had an incredible season between Double-A affiliate Northwest Arkansas and Triple-A Omaha with 37 home runs and a .987 OPS.

The reality before Dayton Moore was clear - cost-controlled pitching is at a premium and everyone is buying. The Rangers are looking for a starter. So are the Angels. In fact, you could easily mention the Tigers, Diamondbacks and Rockies in that conversation as well and still forget a half-dozen or more. The bottom line is that Moore was going to have to pay to get his man.

With Sunday's announcement that the Royals had landed James Shields and Wade Davis in a deal, they finally got their man. The only question is: was the price too steep? The Royals dealt Myers along with pitching prospects Jake Odorizzi, Mike Montgomery and third baseman Patrick Leonard, last year's fifth round choice. Four young prospects with high promise. Even more so, they would provide Kansas City with cheap production for the rest of the decade if they panned out.

But it's that phrase that caused the Royals to make the move. While Myers is likely a sure thing, the Royals need the real deal in the rotation. Myers' bat would help in the line-up, for certain, but he doesn't add anything to a rotation that holds nearly as many question marks as it did $20 million ago for the 2013 season. Can Jeremy Guthrie maintain his KC success? Can Ervin Santana bounce back? The Royals are betting that much money in the next year alone -- not to mention the 3-year deal given to Guthrie.

In short, the Royals have already made some moves but it failed to alleviate the biggest question of all. They might have new names, but they were still risks. They might have more options, but they lack the frontline starter. Now that question has been answered.

Shields will take the ball on Opening Day. Let there be no doubt about that. Wade Davis will likely ease back into the rotation as a starting option for the team after spending last year in Tampa's bullpen given their loaded rotation. That's two starters out of five or six for the Royals. That's a nice haul. But in return they traded away one of the game's greatest prospects.

If Royals fans are feeling the mixed emotions that come with such a deal, imagine how Moore has felt himself as he battled this question. Yet in the end, the pitching hole proved to be too much to handle.

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