Which Pitching Prospects Will Wil (Myers) Yield for The Royals?

Let’s keep this all very simple and put it in bullet-form. According to a report Friday from the venerable Jeff Passan:

  • the Royals are willing to trade their top prospect — and, perhaps, baseball’s top prospect — Wil Myers
  • the Royals will seek young, front-line starting pitching in any deal for Myers
  • the Royals have discussed such a swap with the Rays, the D-backs, the A’s and the Mariners

(Minda Hass)

As much as it might seem a surprise for a down-and-out, on-its-way-back team to be “dangling” or “shopping” such an impactful slugger with zero Major League service time, this news should not, in fact, come as a surprise. Let’s stay simple and explain why:

  • the Royals appear set with their outfield to begin 2013 — and unwilling to make room for Myers (he could force the issue with a big Spring Training)
  • the Royals appear set with an offensive nucleus of young sluggers (which includes the names Butler, Gordon, Moustakas, Hosmer, Perez — not Myers)
  • the Royals do not appear set with their starting rotation (in no small part because prospects Mike Montgomery, John Lamb and Chris Dwyer have stalled in the Minors)

Which brings us to the Rays, the D-backs, the A’s and the Mariners. What Passan doesn’t tell us, I will. What he doesn’t tell us, of course, is which pitching prospects Kansas City might be targeting from each of these four potential trading partners. Let’s take them one at a time:

The Rays

  • Major League rotation: James Shields, David Price, Jeremy Hellickson, Matt Moore, Alex Cobb/Jeff Niemman
  • Expendable prospects: Chris Archer (AAA), Alex Torres (AAA), Alex Colome (AAA), Enny Romero (High-A), Felipe Rivero (A), Taylor Guerrieri and Blake Snell (Low-A)
  • The proposal for Myers: Chris Archer and Taylor Guerrieri for Myers
  • Why it Wil/won’t work: The Rays will be loathe to part with two elite hurlers and may insist on an Archer-and-anybody-but-Guerrieri package, but including their 2011 first-round draftee probably puts them ahead in the race to land Myers. And Tampa Bay might overpay (in its mind) to get a can’t-miss slugger that it can control contractually for the next six years. … Don’t discount Romero or Rivero, who like Guerrieri are far away from the Majors, but have very live arms.

The D-backs

  • Major League rotation: Ian Kennedy, Trevor Cahill, Daniel Hudson, Wade Miley, Pat Corbin/Tyler Skaggs
  • Expendable prospects: Trevor Bauer (AAA), David Holmberg (AA), Anthony Meo (High-A), Archie Bradley (A)
  • The proposal for Myers: Trevor Bauer, David Holmberg and Anthony Meo for Myers and SS/2B prospect Christian Colon
  • Why it Wil/won’t work: We’ve seen national reports that — before they were shot down — depicted the D-backs making and taking calls on Trevor Bauer. So this could be the trade makes the most sense: Arizona trades a pitcher it undervalues to Kansas City for a slugger it undervalues. Has there ever been a prospects-only deal that could also be a change-of-scenery-needed swap for both players? … I expanded my proposal above to include two more Arizona hurlers because we know that the D-backs are starving for a shortstop and that the Royals’ Colon, while not a plus defender at the position, can hit enough to play there. (And Colon is obviously blocked in K.C. by Alcides Escobar.)

The A’s

  • Major League rotation: Brett Anderson, Jarrod Parker, Tommy Milone, A.J. Griffin, Bartolo Colon/Brandon McCarthy (free agent)
  • Expendable prospects: Dan Straily (AAA), Brad Peacock (AAA), Sonny Gray (AA), A.J. Cole (High-A)
  • The proposal for Myers: Dan Straily and Brad Peacock for Myers
  • Why it Wil/won’t work: What do Billy Beane and Co. in Oakland have going for them? They may be the lone club of the four that can offer Dayton Moore two Major League-ready, top-of-the-rotation pitchers. The Royals could insist on the more-proven A.J. Griffin or the higher-ceiling Cole, but it’s hard to imagine them not being at least instrigued by a Straily-Peacock combo. … One flaw in this proposal is really two: Peacock, for all of his stuff, had a 6.01ERA at Triple-A this year, and it would behoove GM Moore to wonder if he is too much like another exiled Athletic right-hander: Vin Mazzaro.

The Mariners

  • Major League rotation: Felix Hernandez, Jason Vargas, Hisashi Iwakuma, Blake Beavan, Erasmo Ramirez
  • Expendable prospects: Danny Hultzen (AAA), Taijuan Walker (AA), James Paxton (AA), Brandon Maurer (AA), Jordon Shipers (A)
  • The proposal for Myers: Danny Hultzen and Jordan Shipers for Myers
  • Why it Wil/won’t work: Of the four, this deal has the most obstacles to getting done. The Mariners will offer Danny Hultzen, the Royals will want Taijuan Walker, and the Mariners will not want to counter with the logical next best thing: Hultzen AND James Paxton. And I don’t blame them. The M’s MLB rotation is thin, and all three members of the Hultzen-Walker-Paxton trio will probably be needed in Seattle by 2014. Pulling off this transaction would be as gutsy as that Michael Pineda-for-Jesus Montero memory of last offseason.

(Colorado Springs Sky Sox)

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