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James Shields Rumor Update: Pitcher Hopes To Be Back With Tampa Next Season

James Shields was arguably the best pitcher in a very strong rotation for the Tampa Bay Rays this year, and with that, he has made himself a pretty hot commodity in Baseball's hot stove season. But according to Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times, Shields is hoping that the Rays pick up his option and he remains with the team next year.

"I believe I'm going to be back next year, and I think (executive VP Andrew) Friedman feels the same way," Shields said. "Obviously there's a lot of offseason to go. As far as my opinion, I believe I'm going to be back. But it's a business and you never know what's going to happen. As far as I'm concerned, I want to be back, I definitely want to be part of the team."

The Rays can buy Shields out of his contract for $2 Million, at which point he would become probably the biggest name available on the free agent market. But I can't imagine that they won't pick up his option because it only pays him $7.5 Million this year. Which means the difference between having Shields on the roster and not having Shields on the roster is only $5.5 Million dollars. I think that's a pretty fair deal for one of the best pitcher in the A.L. last year, particularly if he really wants to play there.

Photographs by, thelastminute, turtlemom nancy , fesek, kthypryn, justinwright, sue_elias, pointnshoot, and scrapstothefuture used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.