When Andrew Friedman left the Rays front office, he left alone. The majority of the brain trust in the Rays front office now is the same group as it was last year when the Rays traded David Price. And not much has changed since the Rays traded Delmon Young and Scott Kazmir and James Shields.
When Kazmir and Young were about to fall off the face of the planet, they were gone, bringing back a haul of dependable pieces.
When Matt Garza and James Shields were at peak value, they were gone too, bringing back solid pieces to keep the Rays afloat. (Remove a few devastating injuries, and that Garza trade looks even better).
When David Price was still a Ray, despite loads of offseason rumors, but the team team failed to compete for the playoffs, he was shipped out for David-Price-Lite in Drew Smyly (who projects to be the second best starter in a good rotation), Ben-Zobrist-Lite in Nick Franklin, and the Rays top prospect in Willy Adames.
GM Matt Silverman is new to the title of "head of baseball operations" but not to the game. He's a business man, but from what I understand, he was just as much a part of the Price trade as anyone else in that front office.
If Ben Zobrist is kept throughout the off-season and this team fails to contend, he'll hopefully bring back a piece of similar value to Andrew Heaney (as we saw in the Howie Kendrick trade). If the Rays can best that today, though, he might be gone sooner, particularly without another team-friendly contract extension.
Do I trust this front office?
There are three pillars to the Rays that will get prioritized forever and always:
Great Pitching - Great Defense - Great Contract
Of those three pillars, Wil Myers aligned with one: his rookie contract will keep him cost controlled until 2017 when salary arbitration kicked in, and then he would get expensive if he satisfied expectations on the field.
But he hadn't, not yet.
Wil Myers was awarded Rookie of the Year in 2013, but his raw power has yet to translate into game power, and his outfield defense was admittedly uninspiring.
As a former catcher, Myers has a cannon for an arm that we never saw displayed. He broke his wrist last season on an outfield collision that shouldn't have happened. In the playoffs the year before, the turning point in the ALDS was a routine flyball he gave up on.
It's easy to complain, but that sells short his pedigree. Myers was acquired as a top-five prospect in baseball. Sure his sliding on the basepaths has been adventurous, but he's athletic enough to play the outfield (even center, in the minors), and capable of above average offensive production. He boasted a 131 wRC+ in half a season in 2013.
To date, Myers has already demonstrated an ability to handle play in the majors, gaffes aside. The prospects the Rays are acquiring are far less of a guarantee.
All of that is context. How am I supposed to feel about the Wil Myers trade?
As a fan, this trade is brutal. I asked Hatfield how he felt shortly after news broke. His response: "I'm dead inside right now." Other friends have told me they're moving to San Diego. It's easy to be frustrated.
One element of this trade is a question: "Is no one safe?" I've only purchased one Rays jersey in my life -- that of Evan Longoria after his second contract extension. How many fans have a Wil Myers jersey hanging in their closet right now? A bobble head on the shelf? Another face of the franchise is gone.
On a personal level, most of us hate it, and that's perfectly acceptable.
Myers and his goofy grin and his terrible hair worked their way into our hearts the moment he took the field. In batting practice he had the strength of an ox, he old-schools it with no batting gloves, and generally speaking he puts on a show. At the young age of 24, he's got plenty of time to develop into who you thought he'd be.
Unless you were pessimistic on Myers. If so, he was already who you thought he'd be.
Then there are the rumors. "He wasn't a team player under Maddon, not a fan of themed trips or buzzing hair for charity. He wasn't keen on the Rays dietary program. He wasn't a student of the game." None of those are fit to print. They're more suited for radio where words simply disappear into the ether. I don't know if they're true, but the perception was out there.
At the end of the day, it looks like the Rays lost confidence in Myers. How you feel about this trade might be dependent on whether you did too.