Rays trade No. 1 starter Shields to Royals for prospect

Fitzgerald Cecilio – 4E Sports Reporter

Kansas City, MO, United States (4E Sports) – The Tampa Bay Rays made a shocking move Sunday, trading No. 1 starter James Shields to the Kansas City Royals for outfielder Wil Myers.

The Royals also received right-handed starting pitcher Wade Davis in exchange for pitchers Jake Odorizzi and Mike Montgomery and third baseman Patrick Leonard.

Kansas City will also receive a player to be named or cash together with Shields and Davis.

“It really wasn’t too much of a surprise. Obviously, the initial shock of being traded,” Shields said. “To be honest, I didn’t know which teams were interested in me. You hear the rumors, but I’m excited to be a Royal. There’s a lot of young talent.”

Kansas City general manager Dayton Moore expects Shields to take the leadership in the Royals’ rotation, which already has Ervin Santana and Jeremy Guthrie.

“He was one of the premier starting pitchers in all of Major League Baseball and someone that was highly sought after in trades this offseason and we’re fortunate to have the prospect package that would allow us to consummate a deal of this caliber,” Moore said.

Shields had a 15-10 record this year and a 3.52 ERA in 33 starts with 223 strikeouts in 227 2/3 innings. He owns a career 87-73 record and 3.89 ERA and is the Rays’ all-time leader in wins, starts (217), innings pitched (1,454 2/3), strikeouts (1,250), complete games (19) and shutouts (eight).

In 2011, Shields made the AL All-Star team and finished third in the AL Cy Young Award race.

Moore also indicated that Davis will resume a starting role after pitching exclusively in relief for the Rays this year. He had a 3-0 record with a 2.43 ERA in 54 games in 2012 after making a combined 64 starts for the Rays from 2009 to 2011.

“I was working out to be prepared for that when the World Series was going on,” Davis said of becoming a starter. “It was something I was hoping to get the opportunity to do, and I’ll be ready.

Davis went 12-10 with a 4.07 ERA in 2010 and was third in the AL Rookie of the Year voting. In 118 career outings, including 64 starts, his record is 28-22 with a 3.94 ERA. As a starter, he’s 25-22 with a 4.22 ERA.

The trade will add some salary to the Royals’ payroll as Shields will make $10.25 million in 2013 and $12 million in 2014, after which he could become a free agent. Davis’ 2013 salary is $2.8 million and that goes to $4.8 million in 2014.

Myers pounded a total of 37 home runs with 109 RBIs and a .314 average this year combined in Triple-A and Double-A. He was named the Minor League Player of the Year by USA Today, Baseball America and Topps. He’s ranked No. 3 in the nation in MLB.com’s Top 100 Prospects.

Myers could be given a shot at filling the vacancy in center field after B.J. Upton left the Rays for a five-year, $75.25-million deal with the Braves.

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