MLB Rumors: Tampa Bay Rays Getting Ready To Trade James Shields?

Tim Heitman-US PRESSWIRE

The Tampa Bay Rays are loaded in their pitching rotation. It would make sense if you see the organization unload one of their top pitchers in the coming days at the MLB Winter Meetings. Rival executives of the Rays think that the team is looking to trade right-handed pitcher James Shields.

One rival executive told ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark:

“Just look at the contract,” one AL exec said. “He’s got this year and next year left. So he’s got more value now than he’ll have a year from now. They’re very analytical about everything they do. It just makes sense that now’s the time.”

The Rays are scheduled to pay Shields $9 million in the 2013 season and hold a $12 million club option for the 2014 season. It is one of the better contracts in baseball for a pitcher that will more than likely get paid when his time comes. Teams could be lining up at the door for Shields and with the Rays having a budget to work with, Shields could go for some good prospects in an organization.

Dealing Shields could give the Rays an upgrade at some positions. With B.J. Upton leaving, the outfield is weaker than the 2012 team and it looks like the team could start off the season with Stephen Vogt at first base. The Rays also have Chris Archer and Alex Cobb that are near major league ready.

The 30-year-old was 15-10 with a 3.52 ERA in 33 starts last season. He struck out 223 batters in 2012 as well.

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