This is the kind of winter it’s been for Kansas City sports fans: The Chiefs just traded Wil Myers for Alex Smith.
At least it feels that way. It was barely two months ago that the Royals traded away half their farm system to the Tampa Bay Rays, including one of the best prospects in baseball in Myers, for a pair of established starting pitchers in James Shields and Wade Davis. Now comes the news that the Chiefs have acquired Smith from the San Francisco 49ers in exchange for their second-round pick — the second pick of the round — and a conditional mid-round pick in 2014.
Both teams had a glaring hole at a key position to fill, and to fill it, each paid a desperation surtax while daring to take on one of the shrewdest organizations in their respective sports. The Royals needlessly gave up the crown jewel of their farm system and nearly caused me a nervous breakdown.
I probably should be having the same reaction to the Alex Smith trade. I mean, he’s Alex Smith. The guy who was a historic mistake as the no. 1 overall pick in the 2005 draft, given that the next quarterback taken in that draft was Aaron Rodgers. The guy who, as a rookie, threw one touchdown and 11 interceptions. The guy who, due to injuries and ineffectiveness, has started more than 10 games just twice in his eight-year career. The guy who held a clipboard while Colin Kaepernick took the 49ers to the Super Bowl.
Yu Darvish, who was already the most hyped Japanese pitcher to ever catch the wandering eye of the major leagues, officially became the most expensive Japanese pitcher in major league history Wednesday. The Texas Rangers, who had already committed $51.7 million to the Nippon Ham Fighters for the privilege of signing their star right-hander, finalized a six-year, $60 million contract with Darvish as the minutes ticked down on the negotiating deadline.
You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression, and sometimes, you don’t need to.
At the end of the 2007 season, Terry Ryan retired as the Twins' GM, and his longtime assistant, Bill Smith, was named his successor. Smith had a solid reputation as a baseball mind, not surprising given that he was part of an organization that won the AL Central in four of the previous six seasons. But no one knew how he would fare now that he had to make the big decisions himself.
Two months after he took over, Smith made his first big move, trading (essentially) Matt Garza and Jason Bartlett to Tampa Bay for Delmon Young and Brendan Harris. Mainstream baseball fans gave the trade mixed reviews, but most sabermetric analysts felt that Smith had overrated the potential impact of Young’s bat, and underestimated the defensive downgrade the Twins would endure. Young was (and is) a poor defensive outfielder, and the difference between Bartlett and Harris at shortstop was massive.