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James Shields/Wade Davis trade nets top prospects for Rays

December 10, 2012|By Chuck Schilken
  • James Shields was 15-10 with a 3.52 ERA for the Tampa Bay Rays last season.
James Shields was 15-10 with a 3.52 ERA for the Tampa Bay Rays last season. (Chris O'Meara / Associated…)

James Shields has notched wins in the double digits in his last six seasons with Tampa Bay, including 15 last year and 16 the season before that. Wade Davis flourished for the Rays last season, once he was moved from the starting rotation to the bullpen.

The Kansas City Royals have needed that kind of pitching for years, and that's what they appear to have gotten by trading for Shields and Davis on Sunday night.

"When you can acquire a pitcher like James Shields and Wade Davis, we have to do it, because that's what we've committed to our team -- we've committed to our organization," said Royals General Manager Dayton Moore, whose team hasn't had a winning season since 2003. "It's important that we start winning games.”

Shields was an all-star two years ago -- with a 16-12 record and a 2.82 ERA, finishing third in the American League Cy Young Award voting -- and went 15-10 with a 3.52 ERA last season. He is due to receive $10.5 million this season and has a club option for $12 million in 2014 with a $1-million buyout.

Davis was 28-22 as a starter in his first three years with the Rays but was sent to the bullpen last year when there were too many pitchers in the rotation. He did quite well as a reliever, going 3-0 with a 2.43 ERA in 70 1/3 innings. He could return to the starting lineup for the Royals, who also picked up former Angel Ervin Santana and re-signed Jeremy Guthrie this off-season.

The Royals, known to have one of the best farm systems in baseball, gave up four minor leaguers -- including two of their top prospects, Wil Myers and Jake Odorizzi -- in the deal. Myers is an outfielder widely voted the minor leagues' top player last season.

"We're constantly working to balance the present and the future, and always trying to thread the needle,” Rays executive vice president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said. "As an organization, we rely more on the contributions of our young players basically than anyone else in baseball, and with this trade we're hoping to replenish our system and add a lot of players we feel can help us sustain this run of success that we've had for the last five years."

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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