After receiving a fair share of both criticism and praise following their blockbuster trade with the Tampa Bay Rays, the Kansas City Royals picked up another mixed bag of reactions from a handful of general managers around the sport.
Though Kansas City added two proven right-handed starters in 27-year-old Wade Davis and 30-year-old All-Star James Shields, it came at the cost of two seemingly can't-miss prospects in outfielder Wil Myers and young pitcher Jake Odorizzi. Myers, who smacked 37 home runs in 134 minor-league games in 2012, is currently tabbed as the No. 3 minor-league prospect in baseball according to MLB.com.
All four of the players shipped to Tampa Bay now rank among their new team's 20 best farm prospects, and Myers and Odorizzi instantly became the two most coveted youngsters in the organization the second they arrived. While some like SB Nation's own Rob Neyer will see this trade as a complete heist, the five general managers who spoke with Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com were not entirely dismissive of the deal from either side:
A National League general manager called the deal "bold on both sides," but liked it more from Kansas City's end. An AL talent evaluator also favored the Royals, in part because he suspects Myers might not be as good as the hype.
Two other personnel people were decidedly pro-Tampa Bay. "The Royals got owned on this one," said an NL executive, who marveled at Friedman's huge haul of young talent. Another National League talent evaluator praised Moore for his chutzpah, but not so much for his baseball judgment.
Finally, an American League general manager said he likes the deal for both clubs. "I don't get all the online angst toward Kansas City," said the GM. "I am a Shields fan. I also respect that Tampa does their homework."
What cannot be ignored is how the Royals picked up a guaranteed No. 1 starter in Shields, effectively filling what was easily the club's biggest need this postseason. Although Davis has hardly shown consistency after breaking into the big leagues with a significant amount of fanfare in 2009, he worked hard to develop his secondary pitches in 2012 after spending the entire campaign in Tampa's bullpen.
The Royals hope that mortgaging a bit of the future for a big push in 2013-14 is the proper thing to do, and fans have every reason to be optimistic heading into the new season. Davis will certainly need to step things up now that he's expected to hold down a rotation spot, but it's quite clear that more than just a few people around the league believe the Royals made an intriguing trade.