Atlanta Braves Trade Rumors: James Shields Would Be Great Fit for Atlanta Braves

Justin WeltonAnalyst IIJuly 30, 2012

BALTIMORE, MD - JULY 26:  James Shields #33 of the Tampa Bay Rays pitches during a baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles on July 26, 2012 at Oriole Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore, Maryland.  (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

Pitching wins games. Pitching wins divisions. Pitching wins championships.

Teams that don't have pitching depth will sell the farm in order to get it before the MLB trade deadline. With Zack Greinke and other top names off the market, the list is dwindling down.

With that in mind, the Atlanta Braves, in search of a starting pitcher, should make the move to acquire the Tampa Bay Rays' James Shields before the MLB trade deadline.

According to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times, the Braves are one of several teams interested in his services. He would fit perfectly into what Atlanta needs to finish strong in the NL East.

Note: Statistics are prior to Sunday's games

Washington leads the league in team ERA with 3.20. Just one of the many reasons why the Braves are trying to catch the Nationals in the division.

Atlanta finds itself in the middle of the pack, No. 14 in team ERA. With only 45 quality starts (as of yesterday) Atlanta needs to find more consistent pitching from the rotation.

The Braves need to add somebody before the deadline and Shields would be one of the best options on the market.

Shields has produced an up-and-down career, but his career ERA (4.02) isn't too bad especially coming from the American League. He would benefit greatly from pitching against the National League, against mostly new competition.

Also, Shields could return to his 2011 form when he went 16-12 with a 2.82 ERA. He struck out 225 batters last year, too.

Already, Shields has produced 134 strikeouts in 137.1 innings pitched. He's an innings eater and strikeout producer when he's on the mound. Both of those numbers would lead the Braves if acquired.

Atlanta should jump on the opportunity to trade for Shields before the trade deadline. He has the history, playoff experience, resume and build to be a successful starting pitcher in a Braves uniform.