The deep-pocketed Dodgers want to add a starting pitcher this winter, and according to Mark Saxon of ESPN.com, James Shields is at the top of their shopping list…
“Colletti also would like to add another starting pitcher, in part because of the uncertainty about the health of Chad Billingsley and Ted Lilly. According to a source, the Dodgers identified right-hander James Shields as their No. 1 target. According to published reports, however, the Tampa Bay Rays are planning to pick up Shields’ $10.25 million option for next season…It’s not clear whether the Dodgers will focus on trade talks with Tampa Bay or perhaps shift their attention to the top free-agent starter, Zack Greinke…”
Interestingly, Saxon isn’t sure if Dodgers will still be interested after the Rays officially pick up Shields’ 2012 option. However, I find it hard to believe that the Dodgers (or anybody else for that matter) actually thought it was possible that the Rays would decline the option. And if that is indeed the case, then the Dodgers interest was based on the idea of trading for Shields.
But will the Rays deal Shields? The easy answer is, yes, they will trade Shields if somebody matches the Rays’ asking price (whatever that might be).
However, heading into the offseason, I thought trading Shields was a longshot. As long as he fits within the budget, the Rays are a better team with Shields than without. And it also seemed like a longshot that anybody would offer a package the Rays deemed valuable enough.
But after looking closer at the projected payroll, I am now wondering if the Rays can indeed enter the 2013 season with Shields making ~17% of the entire payroll.
The Rays will still hold on to Shields for the right package. But that asking price might come down a little bit more than usual.