Jayson Stark of ESPN.com polled 17 “prominent executives, agents and scouts” and asked them, among other things, who is the player most likely to be traded this week at the Winter Meetings. And in a narrow victory, James Shields takes home the honor, receiving five votes.
One executive seems convinced that Shields has played his last game with the Rays…
“Just look at the contract,” one AL exec said. “He’s got this year and next year left. So he’s got more value now than he’ll have a year from now. They’re very analytical about everything they do. It just makes sense that now’s the time.”
As usual, it all depends on what other teams are willing to offer. Early reports are that the Rays are looking for a package similar to the deal they received for Matt Garza as a starting point. And that seems highly unlikely to happen.
In the last few years, teams have started to value their prospects more and more. And deals like the one the Cubs made, one they regret, are going to become very rare. Even the teams that are willing to move prospects, are doing so reluctantly, and certainly aren’t going to add pieces to sweeten the pot (e.g. Rangers/Jurickson Profar, Royals Wil Myers).