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Rays waiting for Myers to become complete player

The SportsXchange

Having given up pitchers James Shields and Wade Davis in a deal to get him, the Rays are confident outfield prospect Wil Myers will, in the not too distant future, be a very good player for them.

But first has to become their kind of player.

"We need complete baseball players," manager Joe Maddon said.

So as impressed as the Rays are by Myers' prodigious hitting ability and just want the 22-year-old to keep swinging the way he has, they have already identified specific areas for him to work on in baserunning and defense.

"My bigger concerns is getting the work necessary on defense, baserunning, etc., the things that we like to do here that he may not have been pushed to do in the past," Maddon said. "I want us to push him to do that now."

Maddon said he wasn't faulting the Royals development of Myers, but that it is an industry wide flaw "to overlook things" like outfield footwork and secondary leads with elite prospects.

"That's one I want us to focus us here is that we don't do that," he said. "That because a guy is really good or comes with a great reputation that you don't avoid those conversations."

Laying out the program now provides the Rays some obvious talking points when they make the expected decision to send Myers to Triple-A to start the season.

But the value of the complete player is not just talk in their organization, as it gives them a way to close the gap on teams with significantly larger payrolls and deeper rosters.

"We need to play the complete game," Maddon said. "We have to be able to steal runs on defense. We've got to pick up runs with our legs. We just can't have a guy go out there and totally focused on offense and not play the rest of the game and have us expect to win 90 games. We can't do it."

Myers, to his credit, said he's all ears. "I want to be open to coaching," he said. "I just want to do whatever they say will help me and the team win."
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