Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
The Royals' new ace is ready to step into the role in Kansas City after several seasons of playing second fiddle in Tampa Bay.
Kansas City Royals right-hander James Shields never needed to fill the role of "ace" as a member of the Tampa Bay Rays, but he'll be relied upon to bring an ace mentality to the much improved Royals staff, according to Dick Kaegel of MLB.com.
The 30-year-old Shields, who was acquired along with left-hander Wade Davis and a player to be named later (or cash) in exchange for four of the Royals' top prospects (including phenom WIl Myers), was asked what a club might need out of an ace.
"There are a lot of intangibles that go along with that," Shields ventured. "You have to be a leader, you have to compete every day and give your team a chance to win, go deep into games. Throwing a lot of innings and saving the bullpen is huge. Just being able to show a good example."
If his track record is any indication, Shields has the potential to fill that role. In the past two season, he has posted a 31-22 record with a 3.15 ERA, 1.103 WHIP, and a K/BB rate of 3.64 while averaging 238 innings a season.
And beyond what he brings to the mound, Shields is a positive force in the clubhouse as well, as Davis can attest.
"He had a huge impact on me personally and everybody around us," Davis said.
The Royals will be pinning their hopes on getting all that and more from Shields in 2013.