Just two years ago yesterday, the Tampa Bay Rays received a package headlined by Wil Myers in a trade with the Kansas City Royals for James Shields—and now it appears the Tampa Bay Rays are fielding calls on the recently turned-24 year old Myers. According to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times, the Rays have had “about a half-dozen teams” call about Myers. As Topkin notes, while “Matt Joyce is the outfielder the Rays are most likely to trade”, though Myers “could bring the Rays the most [through a] trade”.
Myers was marred by a fractured wrist last season that sidelined him from late-May to late-August, which was after a horrendous start to the season—in which Myers posted a .227/.313/.354 clip in 224 plate appearances while striking out at a 23.2% rate. The former 3rd round pick batted at an overall .22/.294/.320 slash in 2014 over 361 PA with a .275 wOBA, 78 wRC+ and abysmally low replacement level 0.1 fWAR. Myers only received 12 less PA’s in 2014 than the 373 PA he received in his Rookie of the Year winning 2013 campaign, which can lead to wonder whether his poor 2014 season was due to injury or the ‘sophomore slump’ that should not be written off so easily.
While Myers BB% rose to 9.4% in 2014, his K% rose as well—although only to 24.9% due to his already high strikeout rate in 2013 of 24.4%. However, it appears Myers plate discipline also improved following his rookie campaign as the righty only chased 27.8% of the pitches he saw outside of the strike zone in 2014, a decrease from his 29.2% rate in 2013—according to PITCHf/x. Myers also made contact with 87.4% of the pitches he saw in the strike-zone last season, an increase from his 82.9% mark in 2013. However, making more contact might be the attributing factor to Myers’ down season, as his line-drive rate fell to 15.6% and fly ball percentage rose to 36.3% while his infield fly ball percentage rose to 11.6%, meaning that it’s likely that Myers’ rise in contact resulted in balls hit that might be considered weaker—thus lowering his likelihood of them resulting in hits.
It is certainly nowhere near time to quit on Myers, who is under team control through the 2019 season and is—like previously mentioned—only 24. With that being said, the Rays might be able to hall in younger, even more controllable players for the outfielder while he is still in such a greatly team controlled stage of career. As Topkin opined:
“[It’s] not like the Rays to trade low, and they are actually looking for ways to boost their offense, as Myers can, they could be tempted to deal him if the package—whether it’s one top young player or a package of several—was worthwhile.”
In Topkin’s article, Matt Silverman, the Rays president of baseball operations, is also quoted as saying he believes that “the guy we saw last year was injured and didn’t really have a chance to demonstrate what he was.”
While the Rays are not be shopping or even placed Myers on the trading block, it appears that their attitude towards the situation is that it never hurts to listen and keep an open mind toward any potential trade possibility.