It's that time of the year in Major League Baseball where the rumor-mill starts to churn full force. Last week, the Rays were rumored to be interested in Cardinals outfielder Colby Rasmus, which based on the statements coming out of St. Louis, looked to be more smoke than anything else.
Today, we are hearing from ESPN's Buster Olney that the Cincinnati Reds are targeting Rays right-hander James Shields. The Red's are hoping to acquire a veteran starting pitcher to bolster their staff, and do have a wealth of talent at the minor league level available to shop. Yonder Alonso, a power hitting first baseman is currently blocked at the Major Legaue level by MVP Joey Votto and could be available in a deal. What makes this story more intriguing is a report (also from Olney) that the Rays scouts were scouting the Reds triple AAA affiliate recently.
While the Red's interest should come as no surprise considering Shields talent, his dominance this year, and his team friendly contract going forward, the real question is if the Rays would be willing to trade their veteran leader. The Rays farm system is chocked full of pitching prospects and run dry of bats, especially at the first base and catcher positions. If the Reds were willing to pay heavily for Shields' services I think the Rays should definitely listen.
A deal starting with Yonder Alonso and Yasmani Grandal would certainly be intriguing.