Starving for offense, even if third baseman Evan Longoria returns from a hamstring injury, the Tampa Bay Rays are willing to deal any pitcher but David Price and Matt Moore, according to CBSSports.com’s Danny Knobler.
Since Price, Moore and 2011 American League Rookie of the Year Jeremy Hellickson for a trio of talented starting pitchers under affordable team control for several years, dealing Shields makes the most sense.
The 30-year-old Shields is receiving $7 million this season and his contract includes team options for 2013 ($9 million with a $1.5 million buyout) and 2014 ($12 million with a $1 million buyout).
Last season, Shields finished third in American League Cy Young Award voting after recording a 16-12 record and a 2.82 ERA. So far in 2012, he is 8-7 with a 4.52 ERA after serving up five runs, six hits and a season-high five walks over six innings in Tampa Bay’s 6-2 loss to Baltimore on Thursday.
Shields (8-7) pitched six innings, allowing five runs, six hits and a season-high five walks. Most of his problems occurred in the pivotal fifth inning, when he gave up three hits, walked two and hit a batter with a pitch.
Earlier this week, ESPN.com’s Tim Kurkjian reported that the Angels and Rays discussed a deal that would send Shields to sunny LA for center fielder Peter Bourjos (who has been displaced by rookie sensation Mike Trout, promising catcher Hank Conger and struggling 29-year-old right-hander Ervin Santana.
That deal is puzzling, though, since Bourjos is not known for his offense and the 24-year-old Conger has struggled in short major league stints over the last three seasons, including a .209 average in 177 at-bats last year.