Myers looking forward to facing former club

Padres first baseman spent first two MLB seasons with Tampa Bay, won AL ROY in 2013

Myers looking forward to facing former club

NEW YORK -- It's been only 20 months since Wil Myers left the Tampa Bay Rays in a December 2014 blockbuster that sent the baseball world spinning.

In Myers' eyes, that three-team trade feels like lifetimes ago.

Sure, he's still only 25. And he's still played fewer games with the Padres than he did during his tenure with the Rays.

But the slugging first baseman believes he has matured immensely as a player over the past year in San Diego.

"When I was there in Tampa, I was young and dumb," said Myers, who will face his former organization for the first time Monday night. "I did a lot of things that weren't great as far as just being a big leaguer. I've really felt like I've grown as a big leaguer, grown as a teammate. That's one thing I really wish that I could've given Tampa."

To be fair, Myers' self-professed youthful indiscretions as a Ray weren't exactly cardinal sins. The way he puts it, he simply hadn't yet learned how to carry himself, in terms of preparation and work ethic.

For a then-22-year-old, that's certainly understandable.

"That's something I don't think I really learned until this year -- about being a big leaguer and what it takes to be a guy that plays in this league for a while," Myers said. "It's one of those things where you live and learn. I learned a little bit later. I really enjoyed my time there in Tampa. The team, the front office, my teammates, all the staff was great to me."

The Myers deal was just one of the Padres' many high-profile moves during an incredibly busy 2014-15 offseason. The team also traded for Matt Kemp, Melvin Upton Jr., Justin Upton and Craig Kimbrel, while signing James Shields.

Of the aforementioned bunch, Myers is the only player who remains, and he's now the organization's premier building block for the future.

Of course, Myers probably cost the Padres the most during that offseason -- at least in terms of the talent they had to sacrifice. San Diego sent Trea Turner and Joe Ross to Washington in the trade and Rene Rivera, Burch Smith and Jake Bauers to the Rays. (Tampa Bay also received Steven Souza Jr. from Washington).

Myers harbors no ill will toward the Rays, the organization with whom he won the American League Rookie of the Year Award in 2013. And why should he? The trade has seemingly rejuvenated his career.

In his first fully healthy season since that remarkable rookie campaign, he was hitting .276/.354/.500 entering play Sunday. Myers took home the National League Player of the Month Award in June and made his first All-Star team. After struggling in July, he appears to have returned to his All-Star form.

"I'm really excited about it," Myers said of facing the team with which he made his big league debut. "I think it's going to be pretty fun, see some of the guys I haven't seen in a long time. Playing there will be my first time, obviously, playing at a place that I've played at before in the big leagues as a home field.

"It's going to be a little bit different on the third-base side. But it's going to be cool, and I'm looking forward."

AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.