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Angels, Rays discussing trade involving James Shields

Jul 24, 2012, 8:28 PM EDT

james shields blue getty Getty Images

Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reported over the weekend that the Angels had serious interest in acquiring starter James Shields from the Rays.

And now it appears Anaheim is getting serious.

From ESPN’s Tim Kurkjian comes word that the Halos and Rays have discussed a trade that would send Shields out west in exchange for center fielder Peter Bourjos and catcher Hank Conger. But the “deal is complicated,” according to Kurkjian’s source, because money would also have to be involved and struggling right-hander Ervin Santana might somehow be worked into the mix.

Shields, 30, has posted an ugly 4.39 ERA in 131 1/3 innings this season despite a sparkling 124/39 K/BB ratio. His contract carries a $9 million club option for 2013 and a $12 million club option for 2014.

Bourjos, 25, is an elite defender who has been made expendable by the rise of Mike Trout. Conger is a 24-year-old former first-round pick who boasts a .298/.360/.463 career batting line in the minor leagues.

  1. hittfamily - Jul 24, 2012 at 8:37 PM


    We don’t need another light hitting outfielder! We already have 2 centerfielders on this team. Why the hell would they add a 3rd? They better be including Garrtett Richards in this deal too, because Shields’s ERA isn’t justified. his xFIP is very similiar to last year when he was 9th in MVP votes.

    • jon623 - Jul 24, 2012 at 9:08 PM

      I was wondering how you would reply to these talks after your comment on the last Rays article. That said, I’m not sure they could get much of a better value for Shields after the way he has been pitching this year. lets just hope they can move a couple other chips around to bring in a heavy stick. Don’t ignore the catcher in this deal – that might be a rally solid move going forward.

      • hittfamily - Jul 24, 2012 at 9:23 PM

        To me, if they trade Shields, they are giving up on this year, and playing for the future. So why do they trade for a centerfielder with 1 more year before arbitration. I wanted prospects, not leftovers. The Rays needed an RBI guy, not another tablesetter. They already have Jennings to leadoff and play center. Next year Hak Ju Lee will be their SS. How many leadoff men can one team have? It just seems redundant.

        There are a lot of good young catchers. Conger isn’t 1 of them. He’s 25 next year. The only positive thing I can say about this trade is that Conger is better than what they currently have, or will have next year. Borjous isn’t. Santana isn’t. I don’t want LA’s scraps. I want their prospects.

        But as I said in the Fuld thread. This is a safe trade for Friedman, if it goes through. He knows the upside of these guys. They’ll never be all-stars, but are competent major leaguers. In Friedman style, there is no risk.

        I don’t see this deal getting done though. Not with Santana being included.

      • js20011041 - Jul 24, 2012 at 9:39 PM

        You are really underrating Bourjos. He is truly elite defensively in center field and, given the chance to play everyday, I think could at least hit enough to justify an everyday job. There aren’t many Matt Kemps and Andrew McCutchens walking around that provide good defense with spectacular offense. This isn’t the problem with the offense. The problem is the Rays have offensive black holes at first, third, dh, catcher, and either second or right field depending on where Zobrist is playing. Don’t worry about getting offense from center field. Worry about getting offense from the corner positions.

      • hittfamily - Jul 24, 2012 at 9:53 PM

        Well in that case, Borjous is redundant with either Fuld or Jennings. The Rays had great defensive teams the last 2 years. The offensive minded Rangers beat the shit outta them in the first round of the playoffs both years. The Rays could out pitch them, and out field them. They couldn’t drive in a run, and that has hurt them ever since. They ignore ths glaring weakness with their largest trade chip.

        I’d rather have Shields til the offseason than BJ Upton part II.

      • Reflex - Jul 24, 2012 at 9:59 PM

        There is no such thing as an “RBI guy”. RBI’s are a function of opportunity. Any decent hitter will get a lot of RBI’s if a team gets on base in front of them. What the Rays need is a hitter. RBI’s are not something you can trade for. Hitters are.

      • hittfamily - Jul 24, 2012 at 10:34 PM

        Okay. I disagree. There are run scorers and guys who drive runs in. We don’t need another run scorer. A BB or a SB can’t score a guy on second. And it doesn’t matter what Peter Bourjos’ OBP is, because Matsui, Pena, and Scott will strand him. I want someone with a high slugging percentage. I could give a fuck that Carlos Pena walks a lot. He can’t hit the ball out of the damn infield. I don’t care what the Ray’s #4 hitter’s on base percentage is. Can he hit 30 homeruns per year? Start the bidding there.

        You want Shields? Give me Trumbo. Give me Nick Castellanos. Give me Pedro Alvarez.

        That is where the bidding starts. Not Carlos Gomez of the west.

      • Reflex - Jul 25, 2012 at 2:04 AM

        Any good hitter will get RBI’s if you put them behind someone with a high OBP. If your argument is that Burjous isn’t a good hitter, fair enough. If your argument is that he’s not an ‘RBI guy’ then you don’t know what your talking about since there is no such thing.

        I get your point. You want someone with some power. Fair enough. I think Trumbo would be a bad deal, but then I’m not sold on him as a hitter, he looks like Carlos Pena II to me, someone who will have a few years that look great but are mostly a function of luck, and a lot of years that look bad. Pedro Alvarez is one I probably would agree with you on.

        I agree with you that the Rays have a lot of slap hitters. But what would help them most is a healthy and productive Longoria to drive them in. I don’t see them getting another middle of the order bat anytime soon though. Nobody seems to be available that fits the profile and the Rays salary structure.

    • Ick McWang - Jul 24, 2012 at 9:51 PM

      I dont see it being so awful, Bourjos would play center and they would keep Jennings in left, with joyce/zobrist/fuld platooning right field next year. Bourjos and Conger are both under team control through arbitation until 2017, and acquiring Bourjos would give the Rays the ability to trade Upton for more prospects right now. I don’t see it being a bad trade at all. I just can’t see the Rays paying Shields the money due when they wouldn’t pay Garza, and I would have rather kept Garza than Shields if I could have

      • hittfamily - Jul 24, 2012 at 9:55 PM

        Upton has ZEEERRROOOOO trade value!

      • steve7921 - Jul 25, 2012 at 4:10 PM

        You are totally right… this is all about controlling a players rights and the ability to trade Upton for at least something! Shields is a decent mlb starter…but not an ace! Conger would be an upgrade over both Lobaton or Molina.

        I hope this trade happens…

  2. jarathen - Jul 24, 2012 at 8:39 PM

    It is Infuriating at how badly Scioscia undervalues Conger. So much so that even DiPoto is willing to let Comger go. But Conger and Bourjos seem to be worth a bit more than just Shields, provided they actually get to play. The Angels would be one injury from starting Vernon Wells.

    • judahbenhur - Jul 25, 2012 at 11:58 AM

      What’s infuriating is guys like you, who fall in love with prospects and see something that isn’t there. Conger is below average defensively, that’s a fact. He has trouble making the throw to second and has a terrible throwing out rate. Offensively he may be a tweener… 300 at triple-A, but he has done nothing on the major league level and has failed to drive the ball. He’s had plenty of chances, playing nearly most of last season. Conger IS NOT the catcher of the future and there is no room for Bourjos. Shields is still an elite pitcher. The Angels have to make this trade.

      • jarathen - Jul 25, 2012 at 3:37 PM

        I don’t think Conger is even a poor man’s Joe Mauer at the plate, but who else do the Angels have who can catch? Ianetta’s the only decent guy they have, backed by the Jeff Mathis-like Bobby Wilson and journeyman (and defensively-challenged) John Hester. Hank Conger isn’t going to win batting titles, but he can take pitches and work the count, even if his defense isn’t all that great.

  3. jasoncollette - Jul 24, 2012 at 8:46 PM

    Santana would be a placeholder for Archer who has been shelved for most of this month with an oblique strain. He’s due ~$4.5M the rest of this season plus has a $1M buyout of his 2013 clause. Rays have long been a fan of Bourjos’s defensive abilities.

    • hittfamily - Jul 24, 2012 at 8:53 PM

      I think Santana would be moved if possible. Niemann is throwing again, so Santana would be useless to the Rays.

      • Ick McWang - Jul 24, 2012 at 9:53 PM

        I do agree with that, Santana isn’t worth much to the Rays other than a salary swap for Shields’ salary, being that Conger and Bourjos are making minimum salaries. Unless they are going to flip him in another trade (or trade Neimann) it doesn’t add up

  4. proudlycanadian - Jul 24, 2012 at 8:49 PM

    As far as the Angels are concerned, this trade idea sounds plausible. They have a surplus of outfield talent.

  5. jagsfan11 - Jul 24, 2012 at 8:55 PM

    We dont need another week hitter!!

    • judahbenhur - Jul 25, 2012 at 12:00 PM

      Bourjos is not a weak hitter. He hit .271 last year and lead the league in triples. He is a young hitter who may be the best defensive outfielder in baseball and incredibly exciting running the bases. The only reason he’s not on the field is because of Trout.

  6. js20011041 - Jul 24, 2012 at 8:56 PM

    I’d be careful about rating Shields too highly. Yes, his peripherals suggest a better pitcher than his current ERA, but even taking that into account, he’s merely above average. Not elite. His FIP is 3.89, which 10 years ago would have been great, but not now. Now it’s barely top 50 in MLB. Bourjos would be a good return. He’s a cheap replacement for BJ Upton, who it can really be argued, isn’t much of a downgrade at all. Catcher has been a black hole for years and Conger is a player with offensive potential that they could let catch every day. This wouldn’t be a bad return for the Rays. If you want to see a bad return, look no further than what the Red Sox got for Youkilis. That package looks worse than what came out of my dog’s ass this morning.

  7. soundsofsuccess7 - Jul 24, 2012 at 9:10 PM

    ARE YOU ________ING KIDDING ME? DiPoto.. Smh.. Conger and Bourjos are freaking studs, if you’re going to deal them it better be for a Cy Young winner, not crappy starter..

  8. rcali - Jul 24, 2012 at 10:07 PM

    It’s sad that the Angels have to send away Bourjos just because they whiffed on the huge contracts of Vernon Wells and Torri Hunter. Hopefully they can keep Bourjos and put Wells and Hunter on bat boy duty.

    • jarathen - Jul 25, 2012 at 10:16 AM

      Hunter’s contract is up this year, and Trout wasn’t even drafted when they signed him. Wells is a huge whiff, but we all knew that. No one knew that Bourjos would hit well enough in 2011, that Trout would run away with the ROY vote, or that Trumbo would become a dependable major leaguer.

      I would rather see Wells depart for other pastures, greener or otherwise, but I don’t think it will happen.

  9. jkaflagg - Jul 24, 2012 at 11:22 PM

    Scott Kazmir……

    The Rays know when to dump a fading pitcher…hopefully DiPoto will not add to the embarrassing legacy of the Kazmir and Vernon Wells deals…..

    • hittfamily - Jul 24, 2012 at 11:38 PM

      Like Matt Garza, Edwin Jackson, Joaquin Benoit, Rafael Soriano……

      Just because someone plays for the Rays, doesn’t mean they won’t be good elsewhere as well.

    • raysfan1 - Jul 24, 2012 at 11:48 PM

      Exactly what is your evidence that the Rays “know how to dump a fading pitcher?”… besides the anecdotal evidence of Scott Kazmir’s bizarre Steve Blass-esque career?

  10. soundsofsuccess7 - Jul 25, 2012 at 12:34 AM

    Trumbo for Shields? are you actually serious? Trumbo is one of the best hitters in the league, he’s got pure power that can match anyone with a 300 average.. Shields is mediocre at best and has no ceiling.. cmon dude..

  11. mrpictureman - Jul 25, 2012 at 2:47 AM

    No way do we let Peter Bourgos go Trout Trumbo and Bourjos in the outfield as Tori winds down his carreer. Best outfield in baseball. We can give you Conger Santana and Vernon Wells we will even eat Wells contract. That way you have your catcher, a no hittter proven pitcher and a power hitter in Vernon Wells. But don’t trade Bourjos just yet give him some time to develop, he had a hell of a year last year and if he can repeat that we are set in the outfield. And the speed of Bourjos and Trout on the bases will be something to watch…

  12. soundsofsuccess7 - Jul 25, 2012 at 2:41 PM

    Shields isn’t elite, haha. he’s

  13. soundsofsuccess7 - Jul 25, 2012 at 2:42 PM

    shields has had one great season with some shitty ones and some mediocre ones in every other year. O

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