Royals land Shields for Myers and more: Good move for Kansas City?

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Royals land Shields for Myers and more: Good move for Kansas City?

Kansas City made a splash Sunday night, acquiring James Shields and Wade Davis from Tampa Bay for a package of prospects headlined by 22-year-old slugging phenom Wil Myers and pitching prospect Jake Orodizzi. The Royals, whose starters own the American League's highest combined ERA since 2004, needed pitching. There's no questioning that.

But the price Kansas City paid wasn't just high, it was exorbitant. They're getting, at most, two years of Shields and potentially missing out on six years of Myers andor Odorizzi, most of which will come at an inexpensive price. Myers, who turns 22 Monday, hit 37 home runs between Double-A and Triple-A last season with a .987 OPS and is regarded as one of the premier offensive prospects in baseball.

Odorizzi, considered the best player Kansas City received from Milwaukee in 2010's Zack Greinke trade, posted a 3.03 ERA with 135 strikeouts, 50 walks and 14 home runs allowed between Double-A and Triple-A. He was one of Kansas City's top two pitching prospects, a guy who maybe could've begun contributing in the majors as early as the 2013 season.

The Royals also gave up struggling former top prospect Mike Montgomery and third baseman Patrick Leonard, described as a sleeper by Minor League Ball's John Sickels. The Rays did well for themselves in this trade, that's for sure.

If those last numbers were reversed, perhaps this deal makes more sense. Davis saw success out of Tampa Bay's bullpen in 2012 but didn't blossom as a starter over three prior years in the Rays' rotation. If Davis remains a reliever, he'll be an expensive one -- Davis will earn 2.8 million in 2013 and 4.8 million in 2014 before options of 7 million, 8 million and 10 million kick in through 2017 (although the first two club options don't have buyouts). Chances are, though, he'll slide in to Kansas City's rotation as their No. 3 or No. 4 starter.

But the real get here for Kansas City is Shields, and getting him puts an immense amount of pressure on the Royals to win in the next two years.

Shields can do his part -- he was a Cy Young candidate in 2011 and a solid No. 2 starter in 2012 -- but the rest of the team will have to take a step forward. Improvements from the team's highly-touted young corner infielders would be a good start.

Eric Hosmer's OPS dropped from .799 in his rookie year to .663 in 2012, but if he regains the elite hitting track he was on 12 months ago it'll provide a massive boost to the Royals' lineup. And if Mike Moustakas can begin to develop as a solid hitter, he'll be one of baseball's more valuable third baseman given his already-outstanding defense.

Alex Gordon and Billy Butler are two of the better players at their respective positions, while Salvador Perez looks like an excellent young catcher. The Royals' problem hasn't been its lineup, though -- over the last four seasons, their offense has rated in the middle of the pack -- it's been the rotation.

A rotation of Shields, Jeremy Guthrie, Davis, Ervin Santana and Bruce Chen is hardly bad. But for the Royals to be more than mediocre in 2013, they'll need Guthrie to sustain some level of the success he had after being acquired last summer and Santana to show his bad 2012 (5.16 ERA, league-leading 39 HR allowed) was an anomaly. Having Davis take a step forward and trend more toward being a middle of the rotation starter instead of a back-end guy would be big, too, if he does start.

The Royals have an impressive stable of power arms in their bullpen, too -- but that won't do them any good if their starters can't hand the ball over with a lead.

Kansas City's window to win wasn't in 2013 before this trade. Maybe 2014 was when they took a step forward, with a few more top prospects getting comfortable in the majors.

It's been a long rebuilding process at Kauffman Stadium, though, one that has been underway for seemingly decades. They're loaded with prospects, and while Myers and Odorizzi are blue-chippers, maybe could afford to trade them for more win-now pieces.

But the Rays only get Shields, who turns 31 later this month, for two seasons. If the Royals don't win with Shields, this trade will look like a bust no matter what Myers, Odorizzi & Co. amount to in St. Pete.

The point is, on the surface, Kansas City didn't capitalize on the value of Myers and Odorizzi, mainly Myers. Trading him for two years of a starting pitcher north of 30 was a bold move, and one that's led to a pretty vitriolic response from a fan base starved for success.

Think about that. A move that's designed to bring success quickly has rankled a fan base that's dealt with the longest playoff drought in baseball.

The window to win in Kansas City is cracked open. But whether it's wide enough for the Royals to squeeze through remains to be seen.

White Sox avoid arbitration with Todd Frazier, four pitchers

White Sox avoid arbitration with Todd Frazier, four pitchers

The White Sox agreed to one-year contracts with five players on Friday, including a $12-million deal for Todd Frazier.

Frazier established a franchise record for home runs by a third baseman in 2016 when he blasted 40 in his first season with the White Sox. A free agent after the 2017 season, Frazier hit .225/.302/.464 in 666 plate appearances, drove in a career high 98 runs and produced 2.4 Wins Above Replacement, according to fangraphs.com. 

Starting pitcher Miguel Gonzalez is set to earn $5.9 million this season. The team also agreed to deals with relievers Dan Jennings ($1.4 million), Zach Putnam ($1.1175 million) and Jake Petricka ($825,000).

The White Sox acquired Frazier in a three-player trade from the Cincinnati Reds in December 2015. It's expected they would try to trade Frazier, who has hit 104 homers since 2014 and participated in the All-Star Game Home Run Derby three consecutive years, before the Aug 1 non-waiver trade deadline as part of the club's rebuilding efforts. 

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Gonzalez went 5-8 with a 3.73 ERA in 24 games (23 starts) after he was signed to a minor-league deal in early April. 

Jennings posted a 2.08 ERA in 60 2/3 innings. 

Putnam had a 2.30 ERA in 27 1/3 innings with 30 strikeouts before he had surgery to remove bone chips from his right elbow. 

Petricka was limited to nine appearances before his season was ended by hip surgery.

Both Petricka and Putnam are expected to be ready for spring training.

Top White Sox prospect Yoan Moncada impresses club at minicamp

Top White Sox prospect Yoan Moncada impresses club at minicamp

It was a limited look, but Yoan Moncada made a strong first impression on the White Sox this week.

Acquired from the Boston Red Sox last month in the Chris Sale trade, Moncada arrived in Glendale, Ariz., earlier this week with the franchise hopeful he'd offer a glimpse of the skills that earned him the designation as baseball's top prospect.

Moncada didn't disappoint, either, as he had White Sox evaluators excited throughout a three-day hitters camp. Whether it's his physicality, how he carried himself or his baseball IQ, White Sox staffers couldn't have been happier about their first experience with their new prized possession.

"(Moncada) looks like a linebacker, but he moves like a wide receiver," player development director Chris Getz said. "He's got good actions. He's obviously a switch hitter. He's got power. He can hit. He's got a good smile. He seems to be enjoying himself out here, he interacts well with his teammates.

"So far it has been very impressive, and we look forward to seeing more."

Hitting coach Todd Steverson said Moncada, 21, looked every bit the part when he first observed him from across the hall at the team's facility. Steverson spoke to friends in the scouting community and wasn't the least bit surprised when he encountered the 6-foot-2, 205-pound second baseman. Moncada was just as impressive on the field with his skills and effort, Steverson said.

"This is a large specimen right here," Steverson said. "He's put together pretty well.

"On defense it looks like he has some really good hands.

"He got in the box and he hadn't swung for a while. But still, you could tell he had good hands going through the zone, has a nice approach and wants to work real hard."

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Moncada's fancy tools have been well publicized since he received a $31.5-million signing bonus from the Red Sox in March 2015.

MLB.com graded Moncada's hit tool at 60 on the 20-80 scouting scale while his base running is 65 and arm is 60. Moncada's power received a 55 grade, and his fielding is 50. Moncada received an overall grade of 65, which suggests he has the ability to be a perennial All-Star and worth 4 Wins Above Replacement, according to fangraphs.com.

But the White Sox weren't just impressed with Moncada's physical ability.

One of manager Rick Renteria's top objectives for the camp was to emphasize fundamentals and what's important to the team. Renteria wanted to identify specific game situations and how players are expected to handle them so they're well prepared for the future. Moncada handled that area well, too.

"Yoan is a very knowledgeable baseball player who has experience on a multitude of levels," amateur scouting director Nick Hostetler said. "In the brief time we had with him this week, he showed a tremendous ability to drive the ball the opposite way as well as drive balls to the gap and out of the ball park from both sides of the plate. That ability will help him handle and any all situations that Ricky asks him to do at the plate. Defensively his hands and feet are very good and will have no problem there. He's a bright hard-working kid that is part of a bright future for the organization."