Will The Rays Trade Garza Or Shields This Winter?

It's pure speculation, but rival executives who spoke to ESPN's Buster Olney expect the Rays to shop Matt Garza or James Shields in the offseason given a potential rotation surplus.  Rotation surpluses typically disappear very quickly, but let's dive into this possibility anyway.

Garza, 27 in November, has a 4.11 ERA, 7.0 K/9, and 2.8 BB/9 this year with 20 home runs allowed in 135.6 innings.  Olney notes that Garza has a higher ceiling than Shields, but lacks the cost certainty.  Garza will enter his second arbitration year after earning $3.35MM in 2010.  I estimate he'll make around $6MM next year.  Garza is under team control through 2013, though most good young starters sign extensions instead of reaching free agency going year-by-year. 

Shields, 29 in December, has a 4.54 ERA, 8.4 K/9, and 2.0 BB/9 this year with 22 home runs allowed in 142.6 innings.  Shields and Fausto Carmona are the only two pitchers I've found with three club options in their contracts.  Shields can be controlled through 2014.

Both pitchers are controllable, under 30, and healthy.  Both have succeeded in the AL East.  Teams like the Nationals, Mets, Brewers, Rockies, Dodgers, Mariners, Rangers, Tigers, and Twins would have to inquire if Garza or Shields becomes available this winter.

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