James Shields is rumored to be heading to any number of teams according to multiple reports. While some of what is being speculated could be true, like he’s been struggling because he’s trying to be too perfect due to the Rays’ lack of offense, I just don’t see this one happening.
Shields is too valuable for what the Rays are trying to do, which is to put a quality starter on the mound every night that is capable of going deep into the game. He’s healthy and seemingly just a tick off right now. In addition, Shields is well within the team’s price constraints; they have a $9 million option for him next season.
Andrew Friedman has said on many occasions that the Rays do not want to get into a situation where they have to pay “market” for their pitching. So keeping as much starting pitching as possible remains a priority. Besides, what do the Rays trade for? They need offense right now, but what will the team look like once Sam Fuld, Matt Joyce, and Evan Longoria return? Not knowing what they have and when they will have it further clouds this picture. So I think the rumors will continue, but I don’t see the Rays as players in making trades where their starting pitching is concerned.