With the MLB offseason now in full swing, trade rumors around the baseball continue to heat up. With already one huge blockbuster trade made between Miami and Toronto earlier this week, it may not be long before the Rays finally trade someone from their plethora of talented starting pitchers.
James Shields is once again one of the central trade rumor names on the market for pitchers. The veteran right-hander will make more than $10 million in 2013, which is obviously a big dent in the Rays’ very limited payroll. Tampa’s also in search of offensive help, and they’ve made it clear that they’re open to trading away starters this winter, Shields being one of the most likely options.
Plenty of teams would love to add a pitcher like Shields to their rotation, and a few of those teams may have the necessary pieces to get the Rays to trade him away. Here are a few clubs in search of starting pitching who may have what it takes to acquire “Big Game James” this winter.
It seems the Texas Rangers are one team always seeking big-name starters on the free agent and trade market. The Rangers have the players to put together a deal for Shields, but their hesitance to trade away their offensive assets are the reason why they haven’t had any serious trade talks yet.
They have two young and talented shortstops on their roster in Jurickson Profar (considered baseball’s top prospect) and Elvis Andrus, either of which the Rays would love to have on their team. Texas has already considered trading away one of the two, and not many teams could use a solid shortstop as much as Tampa could.
If the Rangers were to attempt a Profar/Andrus-Shields, they would have to throw in a couple more players to complete the deal. Slugging first base prospect Mike Olt is one player that would likely be thrown into the deal plus maybe another outfielder (such as Julio Borbon, Craig Gentry or David Murphy).
If the Rays were offered a deal like this, they’d probably accept, but the real question is whether Texas is willing.
The Minnesota Twins’ saw their starting rotation have a miserable season in 2012, which is why nobody should be surprised to see them pursue rotation help this winter.
With a potential trade package featuring center fielder Denard Span, who’s name has constantly come up in trade rumors this fall, the Twins could probably snag Shields from the Rays. As fellow outfielder Ben Revere emerges as someone capable of taking over Span’s position, they would probably be willing to give him away for a player of Shields’ caliber.
With two or three solid prospects thrown into the mix, the Twins could very possibly bring Shields to Minnesota.
As you’ve probably heard, there’s been speculation recently of the Diamondbacks and the Rays joining for a blockbuster trade that would send star slugger Justin Upton to Tampa Bay. Some have suggested that the Rays trading Jeremy Hellickson and an additional prospect could work, but I believe a flat-out swap of just Upton and Shields could be a possibility as well.
Arizona could really use a pitching boost and the Rays need a bat like Upton’s more than anything.