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Competing executive thinks Rays will trade James Shields

Dec 2, 2012, 3:57 PM EDT

james shields rays getty Getty Images

Jayson Stark of ESPN.com provides the quote:

“Just look at the contract,” one AL exec said. “He’s got this year and next year left. So he’s got more value now than he’ll have a year from now. They’re very analytical about everything they do. It just makes sense that now’s the time.”

The Rays owe James Shields a $9 million salary in 2013 and hold a $12 million club option on him for the 2014 season.

That’s well below market value for a reliable starting pitcher like Shields, but Tampa Bay has a very limited budget and would do well to deal from a strength — rotation depth — to patch up a couple pf weaknesses.

Shields, 30, had a 3.52 ERA, 1.17 WHIP and 223/58 K/BB ratio in 227 2/3 innings this year. He finished third in the American League Cy Young Award voting in 2011 after posting a 2.82 ERA over 249 1/3 frames.

  1. mamsy2000 - Dec 2, 2012 at 4:11 PM

    Does anybody think there would be any chance they would trade him within the division? What a rotation the Jays would have if they could land Shields!

    • proudlycanadian - Dec 2, 2012 at 4:13 PM

      Rays fans have said that the team would not trade within the division even if offered an outfielder and a catcher.

      • shawnuel - Dec 2, 2012 at 7:44 PM

        Hmmmmm….bet they’d change their mind if it were Joey Bats and Travis D’Arnaud.

      • proudlycanadian - Dec 2, 2012 at 7:46 PM

        Their objective is to reduce payroll. Cheers!

      • indaburg - Dec 2, 2012 at 7:57 PM

        PC, see my posting below. The Rays have a little money to spend. Not Joey Bats money, but some money nevertheless.

      • proudlycanadian - Dec 2, 2012 at 8:53 PM

        Your posting below was well thought out and quite interesting. The Rays do seem to have the room to sign a decent free agent.

      • indaburg - Dec 2, 2012 at 9:46 PM

        Thanks, PC. One thing I didn’t account for are the arbitration eligible players, like Price. That’ll cut into that money they’re freeing up. Funny you mentioned Reynolds. I was thinking yesterday that he could be a nice target for the Rays. As for trading Shields, I am hoping they get players that are ready to play at the major league level–our big holes are 1B, DH, and OF–because I want to win now but if the Royals lose their bloody minds and are willing to give up Wil Myers, they should grab him. Small market teams always have to build up the farm.

      • proudlycanadian - Dec 3, 2012 at 5:38 AM

        James Loney? I suspect that we both say ugh to that.

      • indaburg - Dec 3, 2012 at 6:50 AM

        Seriously, Loney, wtf? I hope that’s just a rumor with no truth to it.

    • cur68 - Dec 2, 2012 at 4:21 PM

      That rotation would be KILLER, but I doubt there’s any chance whatsoever of that happening directly. The Rays are not in the business of making their direct competition stronger. What’s likely is he goes to the NL. Could be a Cardinal or maybe a Met, hard to say. In order to end up in the land of Beavers he’d have to be traded twice: not likely but not impossible if its the Mets. They need a catcher and an outfielder and might see Big Game James as the trade piece needed to get that from The Beav. A faint and much fact-massaged hope, if you ask me. Likely whoever in the NL gets him keeps him.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Dec 2, 2012 at 4:37 PM

        Do the Jays even have the pieces the Rays would want? And so help me god if you say Arencibia I’ll downvote every single comment you make.

      • cur68 - Dec 2, 2012 at 4:59 PM

        More to the point, The Beav have the pieces that the Mets want. Possibly a Buck/Rasmus deal with, with maybe a strong AAA OF prospect thrown in. If its the Mets that wind up with Shields, then a trade with The Beav for that catcher and OFer they need could happen. If not Shields, then Dickey. All this is highly specious of course. Too many things need to happen for this to go Beaver Way.

      • paperlions - Dec 2, 2012 at 5:06 PM

        Cardinals do NOT need pitching…they already have 8 options (Wainwright, Carpenter, Garcia, Westrbook, Lynn, Kelly, Miller, Rosenthal) for 5 spots…they certainly are not going to add payroll for a starter.

      • paperlions - Dec 2, 2012 at 5:07 PM

        The problem with the Beavs pieces is that they just aren’t that good…there is a 0% chance that the Mets or Rays couldn’t get far better players than the Jay’s available catchers/outfielders from someone else in exchange for Dickey or Shields.

      • cur68 - Dec 2, 2012 at 5:28 PM

        Who’s got a spare catcher, then? I suppose Scioscia: he gets through catchers like I get through cake. He must breed them in a shed behind his house. Anyhow, Buck & Rasmus might be just fine with the Mets: they’re re-building, need the positions filled, and those two give the appearance of + moves (providing that Mets fans don’t look to closely at what they’re getting). The draw back is of course, cost. Frankly, I’m doubtful that Mets want to take on Buck’s ridiculous salary. Pity Mathis went to The Feesh as the “centrepiece” of that deal. He’d have been Mets-cheap. The upshot is of course that I don’t see Shields as a Beav: way too convoluted.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Dec 2, 2012 at 5:39 PM

        Anyhow, Buck & Rasmus might be just fine with the Mets: they’re re-building, need the positions filled, and those two give the appearance of + moves (providing that Mets fans don’t look to closely at what they’re getting)

        Colby Rasmus is a career 98 OPS+ outfielder (boosted by one year) with two arb years left and Buck is, well, Buck. The Jays would have to kick in a lot more to trade with the Mets, unless you want some of their garbage back.

      • paperlions - Dec 2, 2012 at 5:39 PM

        That the Mets are looking for a catcher is speculation. Again, SA is not an idiot…he would think, “well gee golly, I sure do need a catcher, and there isn’t anything out there but these rather low production players….so I guess I just have to up and give up a highly valuable commodity for one of these scrubs.”

        There are a lot of ways to improve a team (especially one with as many holes as the Mets have), moving your most valuable trade chip for a modest improvement is just stupid. The Mets would be a better team if the maximized their return for Dickey and just picked up a scrub catcher in FA (who wouldn’t be much of a downgrade from ANY of the catchers the the Jay can offer).

      • paperlions - Dec 2, 2012 at 5:47 PM

        FWIW, 26 catchers with 200+ PAs last year put up better offensive numbers than Arrencibia, 32 were better than Buck….at least one of those guys can probably be had…heck…more than one is a FA….any team would be better off signing Shoppach, Snyder, Schneider, Soto, or Olivo to a short-term deal than giving up valuable pitching for catching that is marginally better (if better at all) than the guys available in FA.

    • indaburg - Dec 2, 2012 at 7:55 PM

      Mamsy, now you’re just being greedy. Before the Marlins Massacre, there was hardly a chance. Now that the Jays just made themselves the team to beat in the division, the probability is now in the negative numbers. We’re talking quantum physics here. So far, the Rays have freed up Peña’s $10 million, Luke Scott’s $5 million, Upton’s $7 million, and middle reliever Badenhop’s projected $1.6 million. If they trade Shields (and if I were the gambling sort, I’d bet on it), that’s another $9 million. I think the Rays are positioning themselves to pay for that elusive power hitter by saving their pennies. Arming a direct competitor when you still believe you have a chance to win? Not very smart, but you can still dream.

      • proudlycanadian - Dec 2, 2012 at 8:49 PM

        Good points but who is out there to partner Longoria. Do they try to find a slugging first baseman? Someone like Reynolds? Do they go with 2 decent hitters instead of a star? Shields might get them a couple of established players rather than prospects.

      • raysfan1 - Dec 2, 2012 at 11:46 PM

        I’d be thinking 2 decent hitters, PC…then try to pick up a third cheap on the FA market near reporting time.

  2. vanmorrissey - Dec 2, 2012 at 4:43 PM

    Angels could afford him as well as the Rangers in the AL. Watch the Cards, maybe Mil in NL.

    • ultimatecardinalwarrior - Dec 2, 2012 at 9:19 PM

      Nah, not the Cardinals. They already have at least 5 solid pitching options, including guys much cheaper than Shields and might pitch just as well. If Milwaukee gets him, however, watch out. They were a solid team down the stretch last year that just needed a few really good pitching performances.

      • brewcitybummer - Dec 3, 2012 at 1:02 AM

        The Brewers have come a long way in 20 months in improving the farm system to where there are 15-20 interesting guys. However, I don’t think there is any one player that could be the centerpiece of a package for a frontline starter. It would have to be a major league player.

    • jkaflagg - Dec 3, 2012 at 6:17 PM

      Angels farm system was weak already, then pretty much emptied last year with the Frieri and Greinke deals…..Rays can surely find a better deal from other team…..

  3. jjpileggi - Dec 2, 2012 at 4:45 PM

    Unless the Rays find some new revenues, they HAVE to make a deal like this. Develop talent, control it as long as possible, trade it or lose it when the contracts are up. Tough way to live, but these guys have become very good at it.

    John Pileggi

  4. jaybird22seven - Dec 2, 2012 at 7:41 PM

    The Rays will never trade with the Jays. They don’t want to make that rotation any stronger and then have to face them for the better portion of the year. But Garza might be a better option for the Jays.

  5. jaybird22seven - Dec 2, 2012 at 10:34 PM

    If the Rays wanted Joey bats it would cost them half there team.

  6. djjackson81 - Dec 3, 2012 at 12:40 AM

    Shields for Justin Upton makes sense fits both teams need and strengths to spare.

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