TR Sullivan of MLB.com says that the Rays are willing to trade either James Shields or Matt Garza, and that the Rangers could be a good match…
Texas’ offseason search usually begins with starting pitching, and that will be the case again. Both the Rays and the White Sox have starting pitching available…The Rangers and the Rays have never made a trade with each other, but that could change. Tampa Bay needs to cut payroll and is willing to talk about Matt Garza and James Shields.
OK, the Rangers and Rays could be good trade partners. That’s nice. But what is interesting in this piece is this is the first time we have heard somebody say with certainty that both Shields and Garza are available.
Of course, this is not a surprise. Everybody has speculated this. Hell, we wrote about the Rays trading Shields or Garza back in May.
But will the Rays trade one of their top starting pitchers?
The Rays only make trades under one of two circumstances: 1) they have to (e.g. a player is out of minor league options) or 2) they are blown away with an offer they can’t refuse (Matt Garza and Jason Bartlett for Delmon Young).
In the case of Shields and Garza, the first scenario doesn’t apply. Both Shields and Garza will still be relatively cheap in 2011. And with both on the roster, the Rays can still keep the payroll well-below Stuart Sternberg’s declaration that it be less than $60 million.
Besides, when have the Rays ever shied away from pitching depth.