Patience. It is not easy to be patient. But it is necessary.
Especially when you are a top prospect ready to make an impact in a major league uniform. It is also difficult to be patient if you are fan of the team that said prospect plays for. To create more impatience among the fan base, let’s add another variable.
To acquire the prospect, it was at the cost of a top starting pitcher who won 13, 15, and 16 games respectively the last three seasons. That just makes it that much worse. The anticipation is much greater to see some immediate return on your value.
For that reason, the Tampa Bay Rays must be applauded for holding Wil Myers back in the minor leagues until last week.
Surely there were some financial concerns there, as by delaying his promotion, his arbitration clock is not accelerated. Holding Myers back until the middle of June ensures that he will not have Super-2 status which would have granted him an extra year of arbitration of therefore costing Tampa more money in the long run.
But, at least to me, it comes down to more than just financials. It makes baseball sense to me. Sure it was difficult to lose James Shields, but you can’t let that impact your handling of Myers’ young career. Whether or not you have Myers in the your starting lineup April 15th will not determine whether or not the trade is a success. In fact the performance of Shields will not even be the deciding factor in whether or not the trade was a success. And this is not something that will be determined this year either, although we certainly can judge it after this season. So a little extra seasoning in the minor leagues really can’t be a bad thing.
Shields has a proven track record and we know he is a very good pitcher. But the Rays have David Price along with a slew of other young pitchers that can and will be just as good. Specifically, the current development of Matt Moore and Alex Cobb made Shields expendable to some degree. The fact that Jake Odorizzi was included in the trade as well does not hurt though.
However, Shields was also progressing in his career and ultimately getting too expensive for Tampa. That coupled with their starting pitching depth enabled them to trade him for Myers who fulfilled their need for a legitimate offensive threat in their outfield.
Last season Myers spent his whole season in AAA. He played in 99 games in what was the outfielder’s first time playing above AA. Myers hit .304 with 24 HR and 79 RBI. Without a doubt, you could make the argument that after a season like that, the 22 year old deserved to start the season in the major leagues.
But that would have been a lot of pressure to put on Myers. He spent the first two and half months of the season in AAA for the Rays and hit .286 with 14 HR and 57 RBI. To me, that proved that he was ready for the major leagues. Yes it might have been redundant, but I rather err on the side of caution with a top prospect with the potential such as Myers.
Entering action Tuesday night, Tampa sat only 2.5 games out of the playoffs, so while having Myers would certainly have been useful, there is still plenty of time for them to make up that deficit.
So far in his young career, thru Monday, Myers is batting .294 in eight games with 2 HR and 7 RBI. It was worth the wait for Myers, the Rays, and also their fans.
By holding Myers back to start the season, Tampa saved money in the long run. But more importantly, they were completely certain of Myers’ readiness when they called him up the big leagues. To me that is what matters in the long run.
And we will be seeing Myers for a long time as he is a star in the making.