The Yankees asked the Rays about James Shields and heard that he is not available, according to ESPN.com's Buster Olney (on Twitter). Olney suggests that the right-hander would also be off-limits to the Red Sox, since they're ahead of Tampa Bay in the standings, like the Yankees.
The Yankees are looking for top-of-the-rotation help and Shields, a Cy Young candidate in 2011, certainly qualifies. The 29-year-old has a 2.53 ERA with 8.7 K/9 and 2.3 BB/9 156 1/3 innings into the season. Shields, who made his first All-Star team this month, is under team control through 2014.
Mike Axisa of River Ave. Blues considered Shields as an option for the Yankees earlier today and suggested that Tampa Bay would be asking for two top prospects and three other players who are nearly ready to contribute in the Major Leagues. Mike ultimately drew the conclusion that a deal of that magnitude between the AL East rivals is unlikely.