For small-market teams like the Tampa Bay Rays, the trade market is the key to filling in holes on the roster. The Rays are in desperate need of hitting, particularly a first baseman and a DH, which means they will likely need to trade away some of their excellent starting pitching.
Fellow starters Wade Davis and Jeff Niemann are probably more likely candidates to be traded away, but James Shields trade rumors haven't totally disappeared. With Shields entering his first club option of his contract coming into the offseason, rumors starting heating up since last season's trade deadline.
After Shields was optioned by the Rays back in October, the trade possibilities started to gradually cool down. However, there are still plenty of teams in need of starting pitching help that they couldn't find from free agency.
Trading James Shields seems to be more like "food for thought" at the moment, rather than a serious possibility. There might not be many clubs who are willing to offer enough for Shields, and the Rays themselves may want to hang on to him.
The exciting part about a potential Shields trade is that the Rays would get some serious offensive production out of the deal, while hoping that rookie Matt Moore can replace Shields at some point in the future.
The question is, what kind of deals can teams offer to make the Rays bite?
Take a look at seven different trade possibilities that may be enough to send the Rays ace out of Tampa Bay.