|Shields heads to Kansas City, giving the Royals much needed rotation help. (Getty Images)|
The Tampa Bay Rays have agreed to a trade that will send All-Star starting pitcher James Shields and pitcher Wade Davis to the Kansas City Royals. In return, the Rays receive highly-touted outfield prospect Wil Myers along with minor-league third baseman Patrick Leonard and minor-league pitchers Jake Odorizzi and Mike Montgomery. The Royals will also get a player to be named later.
The Rays officially announced the deal late Sunday night.
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Shields, 30, was 15-10 with a 3.52 ERA, 1.17 WHIP and 223 strikeouts in 227 2/3 innings pitched last season for the Rays. He is only one year removed from finishing third in AL Cy Young voting, as he had a huge 2011 campaign.
Davis, 27, had a 2.43 ERA, 1.10 WHIP and 87 strikeouts in 70 1/3 innings out of the Rays' bullpen last season, but he'd previously been a starting pitcher. In 2011, Davis went 11-10 with a 4.45 ERA, 1.38 WHIP and 105 strikeouts in 184 innings. So he seems more suited in a relief role, but the Royals have a very good bullpen and need starters, so it's possible he's used in the rotation.
Shields now slides neatly atop the Royals' starting rotation, ahead the likes of Jeremy Guthrie, Ervin Santana and Bruce Chen. For now, Davis could be in the rotation as well, giving the Royals' their starting five for 2013 -- at least until Danny Duffy and Felipe Paulino return from injuries.
Myers, 21, hit .314/.387/.600 with 37 homers, 109 RBI and 98 runs in 134 minor-league games last season (35 in Double-A, 99 in Triple-A). He was Baseball America's minor league player of the year. Assuming he's ticketed directly for a starting job in Tampa Bay -- which is the best bet -- the Rays will have Desmond Jennings, Myers and Matt Joyce in the outfield, enabling them to use Ben Zobrist at second base and put Ryan Roberts in a bit of a super-utility role.
As for the Rays' starting rotation, they have plenty of young pitching to soften the blow of dealing Shields. David Price is the ace, with Jeremy Hellickson and Matt Moore behind. Alex Cobb, Jeff Niemann, prospect Chris Archer and Odorizzi would then compete for the final two spots.
Odorizzi, 22, is a right-handed pitcher who went 11-3 with a 2.93 ERA for Triple-A Omaha last season. He did get a cup of coffee late in the season, making two starts for the Royals, in which he sported a 4.91 ERA.
Montgomery, 23, is a left-handed pitcher. For years he's been highly touted but was 5-12 with a 6.07 ERA between Double-A and Triple-A last season in his fifth professional campaign.
Leonard, 20, played 62 games in rookie ball last season, hitting .251/.340/.494 with 14 homers, 46 RBI and 37 runs.