Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com is reporting that the Rays are hinting to other teams that they will listen to offers for James Shields, even if they are still in contention at the trade deadline…
Only half a game out of the second wild-card spot but in desperate need of an offensive boost, the Rays are suggesting to teams that they’ll be willing to trade Shields, even if they still believe they can compete for a playoff spot…The Rays are telling teams that they want to get through this week’s homestand against the Indians and Mariners before deciding on a full course of action.
Of course, this shouldn’t come as a surprise as it is pretty standard operating procedure for the Rays. They would trade Shields to their opponent on the day before Game 7 of the World Series, if they could, and if they felt like they were getting enough prospects in return.
But what is strange is what a scout said about Shields and his recent struggles…
“He’ll be fine…he just needs a different environment.”
That’s odd. When has the “environment” ever been a problem for Shields? The “environment” wasn’t a problem last year when Shields finished third in the AL Cy Young voting.
Of course, maybe there is something going on behind the scenes. Maybe the scout is hearing that Shields isn’t happy. Maybe Shields is ready for a new contract. He is 30, and coming off the best season of his career. This could be the last chance for him to sign a huge contract, and clearly that won’t happen in St. Pete.
Of course, all of that is just speculation. But why else would a scout think Shields needs a different environment?