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Just Sayin': Reaction to Royals-Rays trade

The SportsXchange

The Sports Xchange takes a closer look at reaction to the Sunday night trade between the Kansas City Royals and the Tampa Bay Rays. Right-handers James Shields and Wade Davis went to Kansas City, which also will get a player to be named. Tampa Bay received outfielder Wil Myers, the consensus minor league player of the year, plus three other prospects: right-hander Jake Odorizzi, third baseman Patrick Leonard and left-hander Mike Montgomery. A sampling of what writers, columnists and baseball executives around the country are Just Sayin' ...

Keith Law,

For Tampa Bay, this is a heist, a potential franchise-making deal that should allow the Rays to continue their run of contention on a dime for several more years as they acquire a centerpiece bat in Myers, a potential mid-rotation starter in Jake Odorizzi, and two other prospects, none of whom has more than a few days of major league service -- meaning the Rays get six years of club control of each of them. ...

The deal reeks of a GM (Kansas City's Dayton Moore) feeling pressure to improve short-term performance to keep his job, which is a terrible situation for any executive both personally and for the way it can inhibit his ability to make rational decisions.

Moore, to USA Today, reacting to Law's comments:

To me, that's insulting. That's very insulting. Very, very insulting. I don't get too bent up about criticism, and I want to take the high road here, but that's insulting my integrity. If something happened, I couldn't get another job in baseball? Is that what people think? ...

We've proven that we can build a good farm system, but now we have to prove we can win at the major league level. The way you develop a winning culture is by winning major league games. It's time for us to start winning at the major league level.

People can second-guess it all they want, but we believe we are doing the right thing here.

Andrew Friedman, Rays executive vice president:

We're constantly working to balance the present and the future, and trying to thread the needle. As an organization, we rely more on the contributions of our young players than basically anyone else in baseball. With this trade, we're helping to replenish our system and add a lot of players we feel can help us sustain this run of success we've had the last five years.

Jeff Passan, Yahoo Sports:

To the Royals, Shields is The Piece. In his six years as general manager, Moore has done something his predecessors dating back to John Schuerholz couldn't: build a team that looks like it can contend, one with a dynamic core of young everyday players and a dynamite bullpen that assaults radar guns everywhere. The only thing missing was starting pitching. This was Moore's flaw as GM. The starting pitchers he drafted either blew out or flamed out. And so when he traded for Ervin Santana and signed Jeremy Guthrie, those were mere precursors to finding the pitcher to start April 1, 2013, against the Chicago White Sox.

Desperate? Hell yeah this was a desperate trade. More than a quarter-century of irrelevance tends to foster desperation.

Ken Rosenthal, Fox Sports:

People will crush the Royals. People always crush the Royals, and they mostly deserve it after nine straight losing seasons, the last 6 1/2 under general manager Dayton Moore.

But not this time.

Not after obtaining 40 percent of their 2013 starting rotation Sunday night without trading a single major leaguer in their stunning blockbuster with the Rays. ...

I'm sick of low-revenue teams that are scared to make a move, fixated on their place in the Baseball America organization rankings, content in their mediocrity.

The Royals, for too many years, were one of those teams. But now, they should at least compete in the AL Central, even with the mighty Tigers.

Tom Jones, Tampa Bay Times:

Are the Rays better today than they were before the trade? Maybe not. Myers might not even start the season with the Rays. But the plan is for this move to pay off in six months, and in a year, and over the next five years.

This is how the small-market Rays must operate. They continue to walk the fine line of trying to win now and keeping an eye on the future.

When you're the Rays, there are no guarantees. You count your pennies. You do your homework. Eventually, you hold your breath and take a risk.

And, make no mistake, this is a risk. But it's a risk the Rays must take if they hope to stay a contender for years to come.

Sam Mellinger, Kansas City Star:

To be clear: I'm with what seems to be the industry consensus, that the Royals are reaching too far and too early and giving up too much.

Myers may be their best homegrown position player since Carlos Beltran, and Shields may be Paul Byrd.

But this much should also be recognized: Moore and owner David Glass just made the kind of move I've been hammering them to make for quite some time.

Danny Knobler, CBS Sports:

The Rays did what they had to. Good for them.

But the Royals did what they had to, too.

You may get praise for holding tight to all your prospects, but you generally don't win championships that way.

Steve Gardner, USA Today:

For what the two teams are trying to accomplish, the deal looks like a win for both sides. But for it to pay off for the Royals, Shields will have to lead them to playoff contention. For the Rays, the addition of Myers and the other prospects could pay dividends for many years to come.

Rick Hahn, Chicago White Sox general manager:

You knew Kansas City was going to look to add pitching to their young offensive core, so it's not a surprise to see them do it. They did it in a big way that makes them stronger. They added two very good arms in Shields and Davis. They've played us tough over the last several years, so it should make the (American League Central) race more interesting.

Peter Gammons,

The trade makes sense, because it is about markets and survival in a business in which the Dodgers have invested $650 million in players in the last calendar year. ...

Hey, the Rays won 90 games last season. It's not hard to see them winning at least 90 again in 2013 and being right in the middle of the AL East race -- a remarkable statement, considering their revenues and payroll.

But while many see this deal as Royals general manager Dayton Moore rolling the dice with Myers, well, there comes a point where Kansas City has to win. Ownership allowed the club to go above slot to sign high Draft picks Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas and Bubba Starling, but the young pitching everyone believed was coming hasn't arrived; Mike Montgomery, included in this deal, has never connected his No. 1-starter stuff with performance.
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