James Shields and Wil Myers will always be linked together in baseball history because they were swapped for each other in a much-debated December 2012 trade. But now, two seasons later, in a you-can’t-predict-baseball turn, the two stars find themselves in San Diego with the opportunity to rewrite their own personal histories as well as the Padres’.
If you missed the news: Shields, the biggest free agent left on the market, has reportedly agreed to terms with the Padres on a four-year contract worth $75 million guaranteed. Shields left one rebounding loser for another — hopping over to an on-the-rise Padres team after he helped the Kansas City Royals break their postseason drought and go to the World Series.
He’s now the big-ticket item in a surprise roster overhaul that’s brought Justin Upton, Matt Kemp, Derek Norris and Will Middlebrooks to San Diego. Also on that list is Myers, the 2013 AL Rookie of the Year, who joined the Padres as part of a three-team, 11-player trade in December.
In baseball, we love to talk about which team “won” a trade — usually long before the impact of said trade has been fully realized. And with the Myers-Shields trade, people have spent two years arguing it to different resolutions. The Rays won when Myers went all ROY on us, but then the Royals won when they made it to the World Series.
Now the answer’s changed again. It’s the Padres.
Before Myers even hit the big leagues, he and Shields were destined to be compared to one another at every step, for better or worse. Myers being the No. 1 prospect in MLB that the Royals traded to the Rays for Shields, a workhorse who would be hitting free agency in two years.
The Royals got the No. 1 pitcher they sought to compete in the AL Central, while the Rays got a face-of-the-franchise type youngster they figured could pair with Evan Longoria to lead them for years to come.
Pundits trashed the Royals after the trade. It was deemed a “Royal blunder” to trade away a prospect like Myers. When the Rays traded Myers in December — part of a roster overhaul and prospect grab in Tampa Bay — it made the Royals look smarter, considering their recent postseason run.
But now, by the power of new Padres GM A.J. Preller’s magic offseason wand, both Myers and Shields are in San Diego. Myers, for one, is happy about that. He told Dennis Lin of UT San Diego:
We’re all intrigued to see how good the never-won-a-World Series Padres can be, particularly in a division that includes the reigning champs and the stacked Dodgers. But another intriguing storyline here is how Myers and Shields can rewrite their interlocked stories.
Instead of us having to decide which player helped their team the most so we can settle an old debate, now we can see if Myers and Shields together can make the Padres competitive for the next four years.
That wouldn’t stir much of a debate, but it would be a great story.
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