James Shields Trade Rumors: Latest Updates on Tigers, Yankees, Rangers and More
And, why not?
He's pitching well this year (although last year was a lot better), as he has an 8-6 record with a 4.44 ERA and 114 strikeouts.
Although you can never count the Rays out of the playoff race, the one thing you can count on is that they have someone in the minor leagues ready to come in and fill a rotation spot if needed.
According to CBS Sports' Danny Knobler, Shields still may be traded regardless if the Rays are buying or selling.
In fact, trading Shields could either bring back a much-needed bat, or give the Rays enough financial flexibility to find a bat elsewhere.
Shields has struggled recently, giving up double-digit hits in each of his last four starts. But some scouts who have watched him recently believe that he'll be a better pitcher if he gets away from Tampa Bay.
"He'll be fine," one scout said. "To me, he just needs a different environment."
So, where could that different environment be?
That's where Bleacher Report and I come in.
No longer will you need to search out multiple sites to find the latest and greatest rumor. It will all be here.
So, here's a look at the latest rumors on Shields.
Note: This will be updated on a regular basis—often multiple times per day—so while the post date will always show as July 17, come back to see the latest rumors on where Shields might go, if anywhere.
Cardinals Join the Fray
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The Rays say they seek "north of Greinke,'' according to someone with ties to the Rays organization, a new phrase borne out of the Angels' three prospect deal for Zack Greinke. While few would argue Shields is as good as Greinke, the Rays' contention is that he is more valuable due to two teams options tying him to the team that remain, a $9-million option for 2013 and a $12-million option for 2013.
Analysis: I don't believe the Rays are going to get the package that they're seeking because Greinke is a lot better than Shields. Just because someone is signed for a few more years than Greinke doesn't mean he's worth more. If the Rays don't lower their asking price, Shields will be staying in Tampa Bay.
Angels, Tigers a Possibility
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According to ESPN's Tim Kurkjian, an unnamed source told him the Rays and Angels are discussing a possible deal that would send Shields to the Angels in exchange for center fielder Peter Bourjos and catcher Hank Conger.
The deal is complicated, the source said, because money is involved and there is a chance that Angels pitcher Ervin Santana could also be included.
News of this proposed trade could be good for both teams in the sense that the Angels get the pitcher in win-now mode, while the Rays get a center fielder to replace B.J. Upton, who could possibly leave at the end of this year, and a catcher in Conger who could be the Rays' backstop for many years to come.
Analysis: This would be a major steal for the Rays. Shields has shown struggles this year and the Rays would be getting two (maybe three) MLB guys in return for this pitcher who has struggled all year. I smell Mark Teixeira to the Braves Part II.
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The Angels want to strengthen their rotation considering Dan Haren's back concern and Ervin Santana's continuing struggles. The Tigers' priority right now appears to be second base, though they are always a threat to do multiple things.
It's reported the Rays are seeking young pitching/catching in return for Shields.
Analysis: Although I'm not surprised that the Angels threw their name into the hat, I honestly don't see them doing so. If they did, they could be on the hook for more than they bargained for. The Tigers, on the other hand, don't seem to have the players that would suit the Rays' interest, especially considering the fact that Jacob Turner was sent packing.
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The Tigers, who seem to have determined that starting pitching is their biggest need, are one team that could be interested in Shields. The Rays, who have searched for years for a catcher, could look to build a deal around Rob Brantly, who is catching for the Tigers' Triple-A Toledo team.
The Rays are telling teams that they want to get through this week's homestand against the Indians and Mariners before deciding on a full course of action. By the end of the week, they may also have a better idea if and when Evan Longoria can return from the disabled list to boost their sagging offense.
So, Longoria may have a large part in whether Shields gets dealt or not. If he hits when he gets back, Shields could stay. If he struggles, Shields could go.
Analysis: While not uncommon, I don't believe Longoria is going to solve all of Tampa's offensive woes. They still need help behind the plate and in the infield.
Plus, add in the fact that outfielder Desmond Jennings isn't doing what many thought he would, so there's a hole at the top of the lineup as well.
Longoria can't fix all that, so at some point, the Rays should see they are going to need a lot more help.
Shields Wants to Stay in Tampa Bay
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According to a report by Sporting News, Shields wants to stay in Tampa Bay.
...he disputes a recent CBSSports.com report that he is frustrated in Tampa Bay and would like to be dealt.
"Absolutely not," Shields told the Tampa Bay Times. "There's no truth to that. I'm frustrated with the way I'm pitching, but that's about it. I love this organization. This is where I've been my whole career. They've treated me pretty good."
Shields may want to stay in Tampa Bay, but it's probably not up to him.
Analysis: Shields knows he has it good in Tampa Bay, so it's no surprise he comes out saying he doesn't want to leave. Regardless of what he wants, the Rays are going to do what is best for them. And, sometimes that means getting rid of one of your better players.
Cleveland Indians Possibly in the Hunt
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"...he may be the perfect fit for Cleveland since they can control his contract for as many as two more seasons after 2012 and the salaries— $9 million and $14 million—aren't bank breakers."
Churchill does state that the Indians are looking at multiple options at pitcher, mainly the Chicago Cubs' starter Ryan Dempster, Houston Astros' starter Wandy Rodriguez and San Padres' starter Edinson Volquez.
Analysis: The only problem I see with a deal between the Rays and Indians is that the Indians don't have enough in their system to acquire Shields. The only way this could happen is if the Indians are willing to relinquish MLB talent.
And, looking at their current roster, the only players I could really see the Rays wanting are third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall, who is currently on the disabled list, and second baseman Jason Kipinis. In the minor leagues, the Indians top prospects are currently in the lower levels on the minor leagues, so there doesn't seem to be a good fit.