There’s a Wil, is there a Way? The Royals are listening are the Braves talking. . .
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
Also, #Royals don’t want to trade Myers or any of their current big-league guys. Much prefer to trade prospects. But willing to listen.
— Bob Dutton (@Royals_Report) November 24, 2012
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.
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.