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Late last night, the Kansas City Royals and Tampa Bay Rays consummated at least part of the much-bandied-about “blockbuster” trade – though limited to just those two teams – with the Rays sending righties James Shields and Wade Davis (plus a player to be named or cash) to the Royals for superprospect outfielder Wil Myers, very good pitching prospect Jake Odorizzi, formerly big-time pitching prospect Mike Montgomery and quality young third base prospect Patrick Leonard.

Unsurprisingly, the early reaction to the trade has been some crack about Rays’ top exec Andrew Friedman buying Royals GM Dayton Moore dinner first.

That is, of course, the correct reaction, as the Rays just got themselves a crapload of quality prospects for two (modestly expensive) years of James Shields, and a guy who was a reliever last year (a very good one, it should be noted). That said, I completely understand why the Royals did it, and I have no issue with them going full bore in the rotation the next two years. They’ve already got a nice offensive core to build around, and they see their time to strike as now. Good for them for going for it.

The reactions of tangential relationship to the Cubs:

(1) I know what you’re all thinking – if only Matt Garza were healthy. Well, keep in mind that Shields is more highly regarded than Garza (rightly or wrongly), and is under control for two more years, not just one, like Garza. Throw in Davis, who’s under control for three more years, and it’s not really fair to even think about “what Garza might have brought.” This is an entirely different trade.

(2) The Rangers are going to really be looking to pick up a pitcher now, having missed out on Greinke and Shields, their believed top two pitching options this offseason. They previously had interest in Garza (before the stress reaction in his elbow that sidelined him for half a season), and maybe will again when he demonstrates he’s throwing just fine. Or, the Rangers could just go nuts on someone like Anibal Sanchez.

(3) This takes the Royals out of the mid-tier starting market in free agency, which incrementally could help the Cubs as they pursue those types.

(4) This helps set the price on pitchers in trade slightly higher, I’d reckon, with the Cubs a beneficiary if their best trade chip – Garza – gets healthy.

(5) This means the Mariners won’t be getting a bat for a pitcher, which means they’ll be more likely to lock down a free agent bat like Josh Hamilton, Michael Bourn, or Nick Swisher. That is probably of interest to the Cubs only to the extent that a player of that caliber was going to fall in their lap in late January/early February, which remains unlikely, irrespective of this deal (it just got ever so slightly less likely).

  • Zachary

    Garza for olt. Their is your starting 3b for the future

    • caryatid62

      And where does Baez go? Granted, you can never guarantee prospects panning out, but it would seem odd to take your best trade chip and deal it for a guy who would block your #1 prospect.

      • http://www.justinjabs.com/blog/ justinjabs

        Good problem to have. If the best player in the draft next season is a SS/3B type, you still take him.

        • http://www.justinjabs.com/blog/ justinjabs

          Same thing applies, imo.

    • Noah

      And if the Rangers say no to that? If the Rangers say, no, despite the fact that we have Olt blocked at his best position, we just don’t think Matt Garza is worth him?

      Although i would say the blocking Javier Baez issue is a bit overblown. Baez will be almost certainly spend at least half of 2013 in Daytona. He is not without issues, despite how special his bat speed is. But let’s say Baez moves very quickly: he spends half of 2013 with Daytona and half at Tennessee. He starts 2014 at Tennessee and then moves up to Iowa, either being ready for a cup of coffee at the end of September or to start with the Cubs in 2015. Then having Olt isn’t a problem. If Olt’s a success, you can either choose to trade Olt for other pieces or trade Baez (who if he moves that quickly will be one of the top prospects in the game) for pieces.

      More likely, though, Baez won’t be ready until mid-2015 or early 2016. If the reports of Almora’s level of polish are true, it’s actually quite possible that Almora could debut first.

  • Zachary

    When he is healthy of course and if olt isn’t already traded.

  • JulioZuleta

    I don’t think this trade is quite as one sided as everyone seems to think. Shields in very underated, some reporter just posted that he had a 3.15 ERA and 14 CG over the last two years in the AL East. Those are Ace numbers. I also think some are grading this trade by considering how good Montgomery used to be. Odoizzi isn’t a future ace, and Myers isn’t exactly MikeTrout. Now I think the Rays won the trade, but I don’t think it’s laughable.

    • ssckelley

      This trade is not 1 sided at all, for what the Rays are giving up they are getting what you should expect in prospects in return.

    • ETS

      It wouldn’t be laughable if the Royals were going to compete next year, but they aren’t.

      • JulioZuleta

        The AL Central is bad. They’ll at least compete for a wild card spot.

        • DocPeterWimsey

          The AL Central is bad. They’ll at least compete for a wild card spot.

          If the division is bad, then it won’t have a WC competitor. Remember, two non-playoff teams had better records than did the Tigers this year. (That was the irony of the “Miggy led…” argument: Trout led the Angels to a better record in a tougher division than Miggy did, but missed the playoffs because it was so much better a division.)

  • Hebner The Gravedigger

    Given Longoria at 3B for the Rays, might the Cubs be interested in Patrick Leonard?

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Possibly, but remember that: 1) 3Bmen are easily “downgraded” to 1Bmen, and 2) Longoria gets hurt a lot. #1 is particularly relevant to the Rays because 1B has been tough for them to fill. That probably is because players get paid for absolute numbers, and the average 1Bmen rakes relative to just about every other position. #2 is important because, well, having a good bat that you can move to 3rd when Longoria is down (or to give Longoria days off) is tactically sensible.

    • ssckelley

      I doubt it, the Cubs have good 3b prospects in the lower levels. Jeimer Candelario is as good of a prospect as Patrick Leonard and at 19 has more minor league experience.

      • http://thecubcontrarian.blogspot.com/ Kyle

        I’d fit it pretty shocking if Candelario makes it through 2013 at 3b. Let alone all the way to the big leagues. 1b/LF is in his future.

        • Noah

          While I agree with you that there are strong odds that Candelario will have to move to 1B or LF at some point, the extent to which he would have to be awful at the position in Kane County to be moved in 2013 is extreme. Generally, you let prospects play the position their bat would be most valuable bat until they absolutely, unequivocally prove they can’t.

          • http://thecubcontrarian.blogspot.com/ Kyle

            I’m expecting it to be more of a size issue than skill.

        • ssckelley

          You could be right but Leonard is in the same boat, he has struggled defensively at 3rd as well. But I have heard Candelario has the skills defensively to be a decent third basement. But at low A, who knows. The point is I do not see why the Cubs would want to go after Leonard, if he was at AAA, AA, or even high A I might feel differently.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      Leonard is a good prospect, but not a great one. He isn’t someone the Cubs need to pursue. They have plenty of 3B options, and some of them project better than Leonard.

      • Hebner The Gravedigger

        Thanks, I was not sure how Leonard grades out relative to Cubs 3B prospects.

    • Cedlandrum

      The Rays may want to trade him at some point, but Longoria has nothing to do with it. Leonard is probably 3-4 years away from the majors and as Doc said EL may be a DH or a 1st baseman by then. Depth is a good thing.

  • Don

    Why is everyone so anxious to trade Garza? I say sign
    him to a 4 year extension. If you trade Garza you need to replace him with a number one
    starter. He and Smaj can be the anchors for the staff when Almora, Baez,
    Lake etc. get to the majors.

    • willis

      Thank you. Jesus you have to start somewhere with a rebuild. We have our 1-2 in the rotation, along with a #3 hitter and Castro. Build from that, stop breaking it all down.

      See how Garza looks in Spring of course, and if it’s effective, ink his ass to an extension.

  • Zachary

    Baez would bring more value in a trade as a SS then him playing third for us

  • Justin

    I think both teams won in this deal because the Royals are going to be really good next year. The Rays got great prospects and they will be good next year and after. The Royals are committed to win now and the Rays are doing what they do with every good pitcher they get. They will use them as much as possible and then flip them for a cheaper, younger players (Garza), but at the same time stocking up their farm. Once Odorizzi and Montgomery start dominating down the road, they will do the same thing with them.

  • morgan

    the cubs should get 2 of a team top 5 prospect for Garza now, Id take a look at Texas missing out on 2 pitchers now, We could get Olt and Martin Perez

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Brett summarizes quite succinctly why this is not the case.

  • morgan

    yeah the royals may of gave up a ton, but shields is a legit number 1 and davis is prob there 3rd or 4th best pitcher now, decent starters are getting hard to come by for some reason now adays, and getting 2 that are proven is a great trade

  • Rcleven

    Texas is a good trade partner for the Cubs but Garza is not worth two top ten prospects to Texas. Maybe at the trade deadline but don’t expect Garza to be with the Cubs at the deadline.

  • MichCubFan

    We won’t be able to trade Garza until he actually pitches and shows that he is healthy. So that is probably going to be some time in July. But, a team who is in contention will still pay a lot in terms of prospects for a starting pitcher.

    I also wonder when Marmol will have the most value. Now, having a full season left on his deal, or at the deadline if he pitches well up to that point and a team or two have a need at closer.

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