The Cincinnati Reds went against the grain and opted to do some actual Major League Baseball business (!) on Thursday, signing 1B/OF Wil Myers after eight years in San Diego spent attaining cult hero status.
Myers never quite blossomed into the superstar some thought he would be based on his time in the Royals system, but he never slugged below .400 during his time in SD until 2022 (.398), and never OPS’d below .713 during that time. Rarely flashy, Myers still managed to post an above-average season (per OPS+) every year of his Padres career except 2019, and wrangled an All-Star appearance out of his tenure, all by the age of 32.
Oh, and he also kills the Houston Astros.
It’s somewhat strange how undervalued Myers was this offseason, and now that he’s signed with Cincinnati rather than taking the (likely) platoon opportunities offered by contenders, he zips to the front of the line as a possible trade deadline acquisition for needy teams on the back half of a one-year deal.
Remember that Astros thing we mentioned one paragraph earlier? Myers has the statistical highest OPS since the start of the 2021 season against Houston (with 25 or more plate appearances), slotting in at 1.308.
Yankees could trade for Wil Myers as Astros killer at 2023 trade deadline
Hey, since they can’t get us out of their heads for some reason, figured we’d repay the favor briefly.
Once upon a time, Myers was the pedigreed prospect at the center of the Royals-Rays mega-deal that also included Wade Davis, James Shields and Jake Odorizzi. After his shine decreased, those outside of the San Diego city limits may have lost track of his talents, but he’s been an above-average hitter through his entire prime, and could help a contender (which is exactly what the Reds were thinking).
Myers is another premium performer akin to Austin Meadows (another one of our favorite trade targets) who steps up his game when the heat is on. In 2021, his OPS with RISP was nearly 180 points higher than with the bases empty (.881 to .707, .839 with men on). His average crept up from .240 with the bases empty to .275 with men on (and .261 with RISP).
In 2022, in a down year? Same deal, but with a far larger gap. He only came alive when runners reached ahead of him.
- Bases Empty: .234/.302/.371/.673
- Men On: .285/.327/.423/.750
- RISP: .314/.370/.500/.870
And the Astros numbers? Six-game sample size in 2021, but he bashed their brains in. .364/.444/.864 with three bombs in 27 plate appearances.
Maybe not for $9 million with grander ambitions like Bryan Reynolds still ahead of them, but check back in with us in July. Certainly, this profile seems preferable — and may require less work to unlock — than whatever Max Kepler’s working with.
San Diego takes Matt Carpenter, we take Myers, his logical replacement on the bench.