MLB Trade Rumors: James Shields Pulled Off Trade Block?

This should come as no surprise to most fans, but the most recent trade rumor surrounding James Shields is that the Rays have pulled him from the market. At first the Rays were saying they wouldn’t trade Shields to the Yankees or Red Sox, but now it appears they don’t want to trade him at all.

Surprising? No, not really. Here’s what I had to say recently over at DRaysBay about the prospect of the Rays trading James Shields:

Remember how much the Rays got back when they traded Matt Garza? Shields should bring back a similar package, if not an even larger one.

While Shields’ value right now is sky high – seven complete games and a 2.33 ERA will do that – I don’t see the Rays trading him at the deadline this season. I’m sure there will be plenty of teams looking to add an ace starter down the stretch, but the Rays’ rotation looks surprisingly brittle at the moment; Wade Davis and Jeff Niemann are both giant question marks, and the Rays only have one pitcher in the minors that’s conceivably ready to step in full-time in the majors (Alex Cobb). Trading Shields would leave some big question marks about the club for the remainder of the season, and it would make the 2012 pitching staff weaker as well.

If the Rays were going to trade Shields right now, they would need to be overwhelmed with a trade offer, and I don’t think there are many teams out there looking for pitching help that can offer such a package. Maybe the Rays are doing this move to increase the offers for Shields, but my guess is that this rumor is 90% truth to 10% negotiating ploy. The Rays are truly in the driver’s seat with James Shields; they don’t have to trade him, and they better be sure they’re getting a HUGE offer back if they do trade him.

Better luck next time, everyone. It looks like James Shields is staying in Tampa Bay for the time being.

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