The Kansas City Royals, after so many years of irrelevance, broke through in a big way from 2013-2017. They rejuvenated a dormant fanbase and rekindled a passion for baseball in a town starving for something good. There were many moments that defined this team throughout those years. This is a list of the Top 25 moments. They could be specific moments in time or something that spanned most or all the era. Today, we start with No. 25.
#25: The Royals trade Wil Myers and Jake Odorizzi to the Tampa Bay Rays for pitchers James Shields and Wade Davis.
There comes a time in every general manager’s tenure when he realizes the talent he has and the window of opportunity that is upon his team. This was that moment for general manager Dayton Moore. After taking over midway through 2006, the Royals had made giant strides in their farm system and little to no gains at the major league level. They had young prospects in catcher Salvador Perez, first baseman Eric Hosmer, and third baseman Mike Moustakas. They had traded for three prospects in shortstop Alcides Escobar, outfielder Lorenzo Cain, and pitcher Jake Odorizzi. Finally, the Royals had one of the top prospects in baseball in outfielder Wil Myers. The Royals were still missing something that would put them back into the winning column.
That leads us to our No. 25 moment. In 2011, Baseball America ranked the Royals as having the best farm system in baseball. The success, however, was not translating at the Major League level. They still routinely lost more than ninety games a season. In 2012, some of the top prospects from that best farm system had slumped in the majors and their pitching was still sub-par.
At this point, Dayton Moore realized that they weren’t going to win without pitching. This also meant giving up some of the top prospects he had accumulated during his tenure. With the Royals in a win now mindset, Dayton Moore set out to find a trade partner for impact pitching. He found one in the Tampa Bay Rays.
On December 9, 2012, the Royals traded Wil Myers, Jake Odorizzi, Mike Montgomery, and Patrick Leonard to the Tampa Bay Rays for James Shields, Wade Davis, and Elliot Johnson. It was a trade that Dayton Moore lost sleep over. He later stated that he was worried that he could potentially be remembered as the general manager who traded Wil Myers as Myers was being inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. However, he told owner David Glass the Royals would not win without making this trade.
For the Royals, they were getting a pitcher in James Shields who was an All-Star and the winningest pitcher in Rays history. Shields had been a key part of the Rays incredible and improbable run to the World Series in 2008, even being the winning pitcher in Game 2.
With Wade Davis, the Royals were getting a pitcher who could factor into the back-end of the rotation.
What the Royals really got was a guy who helped teach the young players on the team how to win in James Shields and one of the most dominant relief pitchers in the history of Major League Baseball.
Shields would spend two seasons with the Royals, going 27-17 with a 3.18 ERA and being the ace of the staff that would lead the Royals to their first winning season in ten years in 2013 and their first postseason appearance and World Series since 1985. Shields impact is also felt with the rise of pitcher Danny Duffy into the staff’s ace.
Wade Davis would initially struggle as a starter. After being relegated to the bullpen, Davis was able to become a dominant set-up man and closer for the Royals. He would be named to two All-Star games and would have ERAs of 1.00, 0.94, and 1.87 in three full seasons in the bullpen. Even more impressive was Davis’ postseason ERA. In twenty-five innings, Davis allowed just two runs (one earned) for an ERA of 0.36.
When Royals fans look back to this point in Royals history, many will remember the postseason runs and the amazing talent. They should also remember the trade that was the official beginning of the era. I think Dayton Moore will be able to sleep easy at night.
That’s all, folks. After the Royals finished up a disappointing season with a 14-2 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks, little attention was paid to the outcome of the game or the fact that the Royals finished with their first losing season since finishing 72-90 in ... Read more
The Kansas City Royals, after so many years of irrelevance, broke through in a big way from 2013-2017. They rejuvenated a dormant fanbase and rekindled a passion for baseball in a town starving for something good. There were many moments that defined this team throughout ... Read more