Ball Star

Guess which new Royal once killed a bear? (And other notes)

Updated: 2012-12-15T00:18:30Z

By PETE GRATHOFF

The Kansas City Star

There was lots of good stuff that didn’t make the paper this week, which featured the blockbuster trade that saw the Royals acquire pitchers James Shields and Wade Davis from the Rays for four prospects, including Wil Myers.

Let's take a look:

General manager Dayton Moore on why he traded a potential future star in Myers (Baseball America’s minor league player of the year) and others for Shields (a 2011 All-Star) and fellow pitcher Wade Davis:

“You can wait until after ’14 or ’15 when some of these young players become more established, but the culture has to be created now. You can’t just wait, oh we’ve got two or three years in this window and hope an opportunity like this comes along or hope everybody stays healthy. It’s important that we begin to start trying to win every single year, so all of our players they feed off one another’s successes and they can continue to feed off each other and our young players are going to become the stars we want them to be.”

Moore on building around this core of players:

“There are going to be more moves that we’re going to have to make as we go forward. I view this as truthfully, really, the first of many steps we’re going to have to take in the next three to five years with our group of players. We have more coming. We still feel our farm system is extremely strong.”

Shields and Davis were asked about new batterymate Salvador Perez.

“We’d be sitting in the dugout across the way, and he’s got so much emotion,” Shields said. “He’s into every single pitch. (Luke) Hochevar would strike a guy out … and he’s fist-pumping. He’s into every single pitch. It’s amazing. You can just see the passion, the passion he has for the game. Obviously, he’s a talent, but besides the talent, the passion this kid has is amazing.”

Davis added, “That’s the best when you get somebody back there who’s getting pumped up, that’s the best thing there is.”

Shield interjected: “It doesn’t matter how bad you’re doing, it makes you feel good.

“So we’re excited to work with him. He seems like a tremendous catcher. Obviously, we’re going to have some long chats during spring training to get to kind of know each other me and Wade are, get a good relationship with him.”

Shields on Davis:

“We always called him the silent assassin. He’s one of those guys who is a tremendous competitor and he’s going to give everything he’s got every single day. He’s got that kind of drive … he is one of the hardest workers and competitors I know.”

Incidentally, during an off-day in Toronto in 2010, Davis killed a bear during a hunt in Ontario. With a bow-and-arrow. It was in September while the Rays were on their way to winning the AL East.

“I got lucky,” Davis told Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times at the time. “It was a great time, a great way to unwind.”

And back to the week that was …

Royals manager Ned Yost on the beefed-up rotation that includes Shields, Davis, Jeremy Guthrie and Ervin Santana:

“Each and every one of our players is going to walk through that door every single day knowing we’ve got a chance to win, because of the guy who’s going to take the mound that night. That’s so important to be able to do that. I was telling Wade and James (Tuesday) night: in ’96 we were in the playoffs (while with Atlanta) and we were down three games to one against St. Louis, and St. Louis was screaming and yelling, they were one win away from going to the World Series.

“Everybody to a man in our locker room was looking around thinking, ‘Are they nuts?’ They’ve got to face (Greg) Maddux, (Tom) Glavine and (John) Smoltz and there wasn’t a doubt in a locker room that we were down three games to one that we weren’t going to the World Series and win, and we did. That’s what happens when you have a solid rotation.”

Shields on if Kauffman Stadium favors pitchers:

“You’ll have to talk to the hitters about that. I don’t really hit too many home runs. I don’t know how the ball flies, I just know how I throw. … It’s a fair park for sure.”

Shields on the Royals’ chances in 2013:

“I think we’ve got all the pieces. We have all the pieces. You look at our defense, you have a potential four, five Gold Glove candidates, we’ve got a tremendous bullpen and now we’ve got some starting pitching, and from my experience some pretty good hitting. I’m sure Billy Butler is not too happy about me being on the team, he likes facing me. I’m glad about that. We’re just excited. We’re excited for the opportunity. Hopefully the fans jump on board and get excited with us.”

Two thoughts on the trade

From a Joel Goldberg tweet:

“Shields and Greinke last 2 years: Greinke 31-11 3.63 401K 384IP .247 opp avg. Shields 31-22 3.15 477IP 448 K .228 opp avg”

Rany Jazayerli, who authored “A Royal Blunder” at Grantland:

“The Royals got a terrific starting pitcher in Shields, and Davis was a solid back-end starter for the Rays in 2010 and 2011 before they moved him to the bullpen in 2012, where he excelled. But Kansas City gave up an astonishing amount of talent, rivaling the Atlanta Braves’ regrettable payment for Mark Teixeira in 2007 as the largest collection of prospects traded in the past decade.

“This is a terrible trade for the Royals, deeply flawed in both its theory and execution, and while it might make the Royals marginally more likely to make the playoffs in 2013, it does irreparable damage to their chances of building a perennial winner.”

To reach Pete Grathoff, call 816-234-4330 or send email to pgrathoff@kcstar.com

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