The Rays are suggesting to other teams that they will listen to trade offers for right-hander James Shields, Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com reports. Rival teams have heard that the Rays intend to decide on a course of action after their upcoming home series against the Indians and Mariners, Knobler writes.
The Rays, now 46-43, have told teams they still expect to contend for the playoffs this year. The Tigers could have interest in Shields, Knobler suggests. Opposing scouts believe Shields has become frustrated and would pitch better in another environment, according to Knobler.
There’s no doubt that many teams would have interest in Shields given his age, durability and contract status. The 30-year-old earns $7MM in 2012 and his contract includes club options for 2013 ($9MM with a $1.5MM buyout) and 2014 ($12MM with a $1MM buyout). Shields, the third-place finisher in last year's AL Cy Young voting, has completed at least 200 innings in every one of his five full seasons. He has a 4.44 ERA with 8.3 K/9 and 4.4 BB/9 in 123 2/3 innings so far in 2012.
The Rays’ rotation currently includes Shields, David Price, Matt Moore, Jeremy Hellickson and Alex Cobb. Jeff Niemann, on the disabled list with a fractured fibula, and Chris Archer, now in the minor leagues, provide Tampa Bay with a pair of additional options.
MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes recently discussed trade candidates who could eventually be tied to draft pick compensation. Shields could net a compensatory draft choice following a trade, as long as the acquiring team exercises his 2013 option. For more on potentially available starting pitchers click here.