The Rays are telling teams that they won't trade starter James Shields, according to Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com (via Twitter).
It seemed all along that there was a better chance of Shields remaining in Tampa than being traded. Jon Heyman of SI.com reported earlier today that some teams "remained hopeful" despite the Rays telling the Yankees that Shields wouldn't be traded. Jayson Stark of ESPN.com wrote on Friday that B.J. Upton was more likely to be traded than Shields, and Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com wrote on Wednesday that the Rays could trade Shields in the offseason rather than now.
Of course, this could be a ploy by the Rays to jack up their asking price. Tim Dierkes examined this possibility last week, as John Perrotto of Baseball Prospectus reported that the Rays had quietly been letting teams know that Shields was available at the right — presumably a very high — price.
Shields is in the midst of a career year, posting a 2.53 ERA, 1.011 WHIP, 8.7 K/9 and 2.3 BB/9 in the tough AL East. Barring a catastrophic final two months or an injury, his trade stock should remain pretty high in the offseason, should the Rays choose to shop him. He's under contract through 2011, and the Rays have club options on him for 2012-14.