By Jeff Montgomery
After much speculation, the Royals have traded Wade Davis. Going back to the middle of last season, there were numerous rumors about the possibility of such a trade happening. Concerns over Davis’ elbow and two stints on the Disabled List squelched trade talks last season.
There is no doubt that Wade Davis became one of the best relievers in baseball after his transition to the bullpen in 2014. He was a big reason the Royals were able to play in back to back World Series and became one of the most feared bullpens in all of baseball.
The 31-year old had an ERA just north of 1.00 over the past three seasons and was great fun to watch but it was apparent last year he was not quite the same pitcher he was in the previous two seasons and was limited to 43 1/3 innings on the year and not many at all during the second half of the season.
When we look back at the trade between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Royals in December of 2012 that brought both Wade Davis and James Shields to the Royals in exchange for Wil Myers, Jake Odorizzi, Mike Montgomery, and Patrick Leonard, how will we remember the trade? Almost every baseball expert around the country thought the Royals were crazy for parting with the young talent it took to land Shields and Davis. They especially hated the fact that Minor League Player of the Year was being traded and his Major League service clock had not even started to tick yet.
Everyone seemed to refer to the trade as the “Shields trade”. Most everyone thought Davis would be a middle to bottom of the rotation starter who would likely be overpaid at the end of his long term contract unless Pitching Coach Dave Eiland could find a way to fix his mechanics.
We all know what James Shields brought to the team in his leadership role. He was also able to pitch in some big games and make a difference in the standings too. But, I don’t think anyone could have predicted the transformation we witness in Wade Davis as he became one of the most feared pitchers in the game. One opposing hitter described hitting off Davis as being similar to getting in the batting cage with the machine turned up to 100 and using scuffed up baseballs. You just could never tell what the ball was going to do.
So, as we move on without Wade Davis in the bullpen, will the trade that made him a Royal be referred to as the Davis trade or the Shields trade? One thing for sure is that no one seems to refer to it as the Myers trade any more.