MLB Trade Rumors: James Shields and Chone Figgins on the Trade Market?

Ray TannockSenior Analyst IJuly 20, 2011

MLB Trade Rumors: James Shields and Chone Figgins on the Trade Market?

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    As expected, the MLB trade rumors department continues to spike with more and more names being added to the list like Tampa Bay’s James Shields and Mariner’s third baseman Chone Figgins on an almost daily basis.

    But Shields and Figgins aren’t the only players that are gaining fans' attention.

    There’s a few other players you might want to know about, and there are a few updates in here you DEFINITELY will want to read about in this week’s rumor mill coverage.

    Let’s take a look at what’s going on.

B.J. Upton – OF – Tampa Bay Rays

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    Citing the ever changing landscape of trades in professional baseball, Buster Olney says that the perception among other teams is that the Rays are willing move B.J Upton now, regardless of public backlash.

    Olney also points out in an espn.com article that “there can't be that much backlash when you're drawing 22,000-plus for a game against the Yankees in the middle of the summer.”

    It's a good point to make if a trade does happen, but saying that the notion of a trade is the "perception among other teams" doesn't necessarily suggest any truth to the rumor.

    I suppose in the next few weeks we'll have a better scope of what's really going on here.

James Shields – SP – Tampa Bay Rays

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    Adding to that report about Upton, the Rays could also entertain trading away James Shields.

    Now for those of you ready to hop on the keyboard and write something like “why would they trade the guy, he’s having one of his best seasons yet???”

    That would be precisely why they could trade him; his trade value has never been higher.

    Olney goes on to state that the Rays “will listen to just about every trade proposal thrown their way, regardless of who is involved, and if it's a good baseball trade, they'll do it, without fretting about public backlash” but again, time will be the real story teller here.

    Olney is highly reliable and makes a ton of sense, so the possibility of a mini Tampa fire sale is very real.

Chone Figgins – 3B – Seattle Mariners

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    One of the most curious news reports out there comes from CBSSports.com that suggests the Cincinnati Reds are in the market for a lead-off hitter, and Chone Figgins and Coco Crisp are on their radar.

    Figgins wouldn’t be much of an upgrade at the lead-off spot for the Reds at all, but Crisp could be.

    Currently, the Reds have tried internal solutions with Drew Stubbs and Chris Heisley but neither has been able to elevate their OBP above .350.

    Figgins has an average of .184 and an OBP of .234 and has performed terribly since going to Seattle.

    Some feel that a lot of his unsuccessful hitting has a lot to do with playing in Seattle, but to be honest, acquiring Figgins would be a huge step backwards.

    Click here for even more interesting trade news out of Cincy.

    Crisp is a better consideration as he offers a little of everything.

    Crisp is hitting .265 with a .313 OBP and 27 stolen bases, and would fit the lead-off spot perfectly for the Reds.

    He’s a free agent at the end of this year too, whereas Figgins is owed over $17 million dollars.

A Red Sox Pull Out?

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    According to WEEI’s Alex Speir, “a source close to the team’s thinking” says the Boston Red Sox are not actively pursuing anyone right now, rather, they are looking internally for solutions.

    The Red Sox have been rumored to be interested in a host of position players, most notably outfielders and relief pitchers.

    Heath Bell, Carlos Beltran, Josh Willingham and a host of others have all been names that have either been thrown out there, speculated on and/or entertained preliminarily by the team.

    The news about the Red Sox has been so back and forth this past week it’s almost impossible to tell what they are really doing, but then again, some may say that’s par-for-the-course.

    Honestly, I don’t know how the boys at WEEI Sports Radio Network keep up!

Josh Willingham – OF – Athletics

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    The Pirates have been the latest rumored team to be kicking the tires on A’s outfielder, Josh Willingham.

    Left-handed pitcher Craig Breslow has also been mentioned as another player whom the Pirates could be interested in, and Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review suggests that Pirates outfielder Garrett Jones could be “out the door”.

    Willingham’s popularity has been on the rise as of late, so you would think the Pirates would act fast if they are seriously interested.

    Don't rule out the Atlanta Braves as a possible home, either.