Two Hart High baseball stars are a part of the latest Major League mega-deal.
James Shields and Mike Montgomery, both former Indian pitchers and All-CIF standouts, swapped teams over the weekend in a seven-player trade between the Tampa Bay Rays and Kansas City Royals.
Shields was the biggest part of the trade between the American League teams – which saw fellow Rays pitcher Wade Davis go to Kansas City for top baseball product Wil Myers, Montgomery and other top Royals prospects.
Shields, who turns 31 this month, has been a stalwart in the Tampa Bay rotation the past few seasons, where he earned the nickname “Big Game James.”
In the past two seasons, Shields has been tops amongst all Major League pitchers in complete games and shutouts, and top three in innings pitched and strikeouts.
He was an All-Star two years ago, when he went 16-12 with a 2.82 ERA and finished third in the American League Cy Young Award voting, and was 15-10 with a 3.52 ERA last season, when he pitched 227 2/3 innings — his sixth consecutive year of at least 200 innings pitched.
Shields is due to receive $10.5 million this upcoming season from his new team. He has a club option for $12 million in 2014 with a $1 million buyout.
While Myers, a power-hitting right fielder, is the main focus of the trade for the Rays, Montgomery is a close 1-A.
Once considered the top prospect of the Royals organization, Montgomery has seen his performance slip the past two years, with the hard-throwing left hander posting an ERA above 5.00 both seasons and finishing with a 5-13 record in 2012.
However, the Rays remain optimistic for the 23-year old, with plans to invite him to spring training and a chance to make the roster.