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Shields, Davis excited about Royals’ new era

  • Kansas City Star
  • Published Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2012, at 5:11 p.m.

— There is no shortage of small benefits to the blockbuster trade the Royals pulled off Sunday night.

Heck, Royals manager Ned Yost can enjoy his morning coffee again.

A trip Wednesday to Starbucks with pitcher James Shields, whom the Royals acquired with Wade Davis from the Tampa Bay Rays in a six-player deal, allowed Yost to be himself again — literally.

“For two years, when I order Starbucks, they asked me my name, and I always told them Frank,” Yost said at a news conference introducing the duo, “because I don’t want them saying, ‘Drink for Ned’ after losing 90 games a year and everybody is looking at me.”

The Royals are coming off a 72-90 season, but Yost and general manager Dayton Moore believe the trade for starters Shields and Davis, along with an earlier trade for Ervin Santana and the signing of Jeremy Guthrie, will make a big difference next season.

Shields believes 2013 could be the start of a new era for the Royals.

“This city, Kansas City, should be excited,” Shields said. “This is going to be a great year.”

When they were with the Rays, Shields and Davis took notice of the Royals.

“You can see the talent,” Shields said. “Over the last couple of years, me and Wade talked about it before, it’s tough pitching against these guys. They’ve got a lot of young guys, a lot of young talent. I’m excited. I’m excited to be here.”

Shields has a career record of 87-73 with a 3.89 ERA over his seven-year career, and the Royals see him as the ace of the revamped staff.

Davis is 28-22 with a 3.94 ERA in his four seasons in the majors, and he’s projected to be the No. 4 starter in the rotation. The buzz generated by the blockbuster trade hasn’t escaped Davis’ notice.

“It’s been an exciting couple of days to get a lot of phone calls and conversations,” Davis said. “Everyone we’ve met here so far has been awesome and welcoming. We’re looking forward to getting out there and helping contribute.”

Yost said the duo has “winning flowing in their veins,” and the beefed-up rotation will help the young team finally break free of its recent losing ways.

And he expects that will unleash a fan base that is just waiting to embrace a winner.

“For me, the turning point came last year at the All-Star break when you saw the show that went on here in Kansas City where our fans sell out the (celebrity) softball game, the Futures Game, the excitement,” Yost said. “You just know that this is a baseball town. I felt like Dayton felt that the time is right to put us in a position to win every single day for them.

“It’s going to be a phenomenal atmosphere here when we do get the corner turned, if you will.”

It will also mean no more aliases at the coffee house.

“James and I are sitting there (at Starbucks on Wednesday),” Yost said, “and I was saying, ‘I won’t have to use Frank much longer.’ ”

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