Should Braves Consider Wil Myers?

There’s a Wil, is there a Way? The Royals are listening are the Braves talking. . .

 

Should the Braves consider Wil Myers? {Photo credit Matt Ryersin US Presswire)

B.J. Upton rumors continue to dominate the Atlanta rumor mill as I finalize this post. Jim Bowden thinks it’s a “fascinating bidding war’ while David O’Brien thinks its Braves and Phillies with the Reds as outsiders (see links in the Hub.) Even if we sign Upton, one outfield spot (or less likely third base) will still need to be be filled, probably via trade. For the Braves that always means trading starting pitching. In an interview with MLBTR’s Tim Dirks published Thanksgiving day Frank Wren signaled as much .

’ I think our pitching will enable us to fill some of our needs if we want to move one or so of those guys. It’s something we’re open to; it’s not something we’re absolutely going to do.”

With two holes in the lineup and a limited budget he will almost certainly have to part with one or more of his best pitchers and another very good prospect to get into the conversation for an existing or major league ready player of the caliber required.  As noted above, the Braves clearly but -as I pointed out last week – entirely illogically want the elder Upton. Even if Upton’s signed we still lack a left fielder or third baseman. So, what about Wil Myers

It Takes more than a #1 to get a #1

As Bob Dutton tweets and others report, the Royals are willing to listen Wil Myers but only for major league ready pitching.  Myers was rated as Baseball America’s #28 Prospect at the beginning of last season and finished the year as arguably baseball’s # 1 prospect period. His numbers show he’s ready for prime time and the Royals would like to trade existing major league players like Jeff Francoeur, Billy Butler, Alex Gordon, Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas to create a lineup spot for him. They also want to contend now and with the exception of the face of their franchise Alex Gordon,  their best shot at landing the quality starting pitching that makes them a contender is to trade Myers.

From the Braves point of view, Myers is right handed, plays center, right or left, has an above average arm and hits for power as well as average,`so he fits the Braves needs. He fits for  a lot of other teams as well and the Royals know that when you trade the hottest prospect in the game you have leverage. Translation; he won’t be cheap.

The Cost

Most talk I’ve seen involves other teams because of the Braves blind pursuit of Upton the elder.  Those discussions echo the sort of swaps Andrew Pentis describes in his latest post; essentially it will take at least two of a team’s top ten pitching prospects (or more) to pry Myers away from KC.  The Braves top prospect list (according to MLB) includes:

1 Julio Teheran (24) 11 Matt Lipka
2 Christian Bethancourt (53) 12 Todd Cunningham
3 Lucas Sims RHP 13 Brandon Drury
4 Sean Gilmartin LHP 14 Navery Moore RHP
5 J.R. Graham RHP 15 Billy Bullock RHP
6 Zeke Spruill RHP 16 Kyle Kubitza
7 Joey Terdoslavich 17 Bryan De La Rosa
8 Alex Wood LHP 18 Juan Jaime RHP
9 Edward Salcedo 19 Tommy La Stella
10 Nick Ahmed 20 Mauricio Cabrera RHP

If you share the commonly held belief that the Braves are chocked full of top flight pitchers, it might seem that a pairing of say Teheran and Graham or something similar would work. When you look at the other teams rumored to be in the mix for Myers you’ll see that the secondary parts suggested in those trades are all higher ranked pitching prospects than the Braves can offer; sometimes the third players are as well. For the Braves to make a real move on Myers or any MLB ready prospect, it will take more pieces to make the deal.

As a result Kansas City will ask for something resembling Teheran, Gilmartin with  perhaps relievers Jaime and/or Naverson.  Unless the Braves have changed their view after a bad year in AAA, Teheran isn’t an option but Fredi Gonzalez floated the idea in an interview on XM that Gilmartin might be available so the Braves could counter with Hanson, Gilmartin and Bullock. Would the Royals take it?

Fulfilling A Need

The signing of Ervin Santana still leaves them short of a number one starter.  Santana has the stuff but has never harnessed it and while Jonathan Sanchez also has the pitches his inconsistencies make him a middle to back of the order pitcher. My bad, forgot he was traded last season.  While Hanson has had a couple of injury plagued years and displayed a lack of velocity, pundits elsewhere seem to think of him as they did when he arrived; a top of the order guy. This being the case, Hanson is likely at the top of his trade value right now in spite of the down years.

  • He’s in his first arbitration eligible year so a club would be able to get him relatively cheap and maintain control over the next three years. The threat of being Boras’d is not yet on the horizon.
  • He’s an experienced major league pitcher who projects to the top of a rotation.
  • He’s shown he can pitch around most situations even without his good stuff so if he gets it back he could well be that guy.
  • He’s just 26 years old, plenty of time to rediscover himself
  • Though his numbers were down they weren’t awful and a change of pitching coach might see a resurgence of form.

So they might consider it even if they want to bump the trade package up. Should the Braves do it?

Yes. An everyday player like Wil Myers who’s capable of hitting 25, driving in 80 and playing all three outfield positions at the highest level is worth more than a pitcher going backwards in Atlanta, a lefty who has a low ceiling and a couple of hard throwing A ball players relievers.  Myers is also under control for the next six years and paired with Heyward and even an average third outfielder makes the outfield look young and talented for a long time.

That’s a Wrap

Whether or not Wren fails in his quest for the less talented Upton , Myers is a great option. Of course the GM would not only have to get over his addiction to pitching prospects, he’d have to get past the ghost of the Mark Teixeira trade and the cries from fans wary of sending a package for a prospect.  In this trade however the Braves would win both now and in the future even at the proposed cost plus a bit.  Such a trade would solve the RH power issue and fill one outfield spot leaving plenty of payroll to fill the other spot with a another bat and/or leadoff man should the Upton deal (hopefully?) not materialize.  The Braves projected rotation of Minor, Kris Medlen, Tim Hudson,Paul Maholm, Randall Delgado, and Teheran with a healthy Brandon Beachy coming back in August looks good without the proposed pitcher’s inclusion. Players are drafted and the minor league’s stocked just for these situations. Trading for a talent like Myers, a third base prospect like Nolan Arenado or Jedd Gyorko , or obtaining a quality current major league player like Denard Span makes good sense. Overpaying for an average free agent does not.

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  • fireboss

    I really hope B.J. Upton doesn’t end up in Atlanta. It’s a mistake to add another strikeout prone low OBP hitter to a lineup already leaning that way. Myers plus Span, Or even Victorino makes a lot more sense

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Aaron-Huston/758832375 Aaron Huston

      I doubt the Braves can trade for Myers and Span, though that would be pretty stellar. I don’t really want the Braves to sign Upton either. Around $15M/yr for a guy that had a sub 0.300 OBP? Yikes. I’d say go all in and trade for Stanton or Myers.

      • fireboss

        I don’t think they can trade for both but Myers or Span + a Ross or Ludwick type would be fine. The league won’t let them move Stanton this year. I suspect Wren feels he has to sign big because everyone knows he has money to spend and we have to huge holes to fill. I also think the Teixeira hangover is more profound than anyone admits. I noted that Dave O’Brien said on XM today he felt BJ Upton was a fit after saying a couple of days ago he thought Bourn fit better and he’s generally in the GM’s back pocket so I think Wren thinks Upton will sign in ATL. I can only hope Simmons becomes what we saw flashes of last year.

  • Benjamin Jones

    i’m definitely happy to get bj upton if we can, we need some power to make up for no chipper and bmac, whether he strikes out a decent amount or not. the third OF we get will be more of the key acquisition because we need a guy that gets on base and we should definitely be willing to trade any prospect along with hanson. A rotation of Hudson, Medlen, Beachy, Minor and Maholm is very, very solid

    • fireboss

      Thanks for the comment. He’s the wrong Upton IMO and I’m not sure who you trade for to get on base if you put BJ in center. I doubt he comes if you tell him you plan to play him in left where his bat profiles. A lineup with BJ and any of the free agent left fielders contains nearly 1100K without the bench players and pitchers. Lineups like that are boom or bust. While Bourn struck out 152 times he also got on base at a .348 rate Upton had 169ks and a .298 OBP. Power means little if there’s no one on in front of him. It may work. He may hit second behind Prado and be a super stud. If he signs I expect him to have a good first year but does it continue or do his past problems resurface? I really hope that if he signs he’s what everyone expects. I’ll happily eat me words after 2014 if I;m wrong. But he’ll cost $15M at least for 5 years and I’m not convinced he’s worth it. I’d rather have Myers and a Cody Ross kind of left fielder. It’s looking more like he’ll be the guy as the say goes on so I hope I’m way off base in my assessment. If you haven’t yet you may want to take a look at Upton’s career here http://tomahawktake.com/2012/11/09/matching-fact-with-perception-in-the-free-agent-market/

  • disqus_PjynwUKou5

    Honestly, I really wouldn’t care what combo of pitching the Braves would package if they were going to land Myers. The Braves have always been able to develop pitchers, and that’s not going to change any time soon, so giving up a few guys for a kid like Myers would be more than worth it, in my opinion.

  • http://www.facebook.com/chris.vandyke.92 Chris VanDyke

    Might want to check your information from time-to-time. Jonathon Sanchez isn’t a member of the Royals’ organization – he was traded to Colorado last season.

    • fireboss

      Yep that’s what i get for posting while asleep. I’ll fix that

  • http://www.facebook.com/chris.vandyke.92 Chris VanDyke

    And Carlos Delgado is joining the rotation? Thought he retired as a 1B.

    • fireboss

      Yes I mistyped the original and I’ve since fixed it Thanks :)

  • rick staley

    any pitcher not named Medlen, Beachy, or Minor included in the deal would be fine with me to get that type of talent for our OF and fred g. could bat Simmons at leadoff without hurting our chances one bit. how many wins did cincy have last year and their #1 spot in the order produced less than a .300 OBP??? just as long as frank only sends 1 of our top 7 pitchers along with cunningham and say northcraft or graham…lucas simms and alex wood excluded!