James Shields or David Price: Tampa Bay Rays are Ready to Trade an Ace

Thursday November 8th, 2012

Bernie Olshansky:  With center fielder B.J. Upton most likely leaving for free agency, the Tampa Bay Rays will have some gaps to fill in their lineup this offseason. Unless they sign a high-profile free agent like Josh Hamilton (which I discussed in my last feature), the Rays will need to make a move to land a bat. The Rays have a solid pitching staff. Some may even say they have a pitching surplus. With David Price and James Shields leading the staff that includes Jeremy Hellickson and Matt Moore, the Rays can say that pitching is their strength. Out of all these pitchers, one should probably be traded though in order to boost the offense.

The two pitchers that would carry the most trade value on the staff are Shields and Price. Hellickson and Moore are both young and somewhat unproven, so they would probably not provide much of a return. Shields is a pitcher I compare to Mat Latos, who was traded to the Cincinnati Reds from the San Diego Padres last offseason. The Padres cashed in big time. For Latos, the they got a haul including Edinson Volquez, the projected number two starter in the Reds’ rotation at the time, Yonder Alonso, a top prospect, and Yasmani Grandal, another prospect and first-round pick. If the Rays traded Shields and got a deal similar to that of the Padres, they would be set up quite nicely for future success.

In my opinion, James Shields is more likely to get traded then David Price. There is nothing that really sticks out about him. He has had his ups and downs throughout his career with a decent 3.89 ERA over seven years. Of course the Rays will not get as good a deal for Shields as the Padres did for Latos (Latos was younger), but they should still get a nice package. I highly doubt the Rays would trade David Price. From the moment he was drafted first overall in 2007, Price was believed to be “the franchise” of the Rays. And, as a hard-throwing lefty, Price is a rare commodity. Any team to trade for Price would need to give up a hefty amount in order to land him, whereas for Shields, a power hitter and mediocre pitcher might be enough. But the Rays could get a fairly good package for the man they call “Big Game James”.

So, who would want to pay the price for James Shields? The first team that comes to mind is the Royals. With an abundance of hitting talent in Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, Billy Butler and Alex Gordon, the Royals might be able to trade a hitter away. The Royals are also in desperate need of pitching. Shields could provide that pitching for say, Alex Gordon and a lower pitching prospect. Gordon could fill in nicely for B.J. Upton in center and Shields would immediately be the ace of the Royals’ staff. Assuming the Royals could afford him.

Another, less likely destination for Shields could be to the Oakland A’s. Although highly unlikely, the A’s might want to add an ace to bolster the young staff. A rotation with Sheilds, Brett Anderson, and Jarrod Parker at the top would give the A’s a good chance of competing for the AL West crown in the future. For Shields, the A’s could send back a package of players including highly regarded outfield prospect Michael Choice. This trade sounds ridiculous, but looking at Billy Beane’s past deals, it might not be. Beane sent prospect Andre Ethier to the Dodgers for Milton Bradley, who did not work out. Beane also sent Carlos Gonzalez to the Rockies in a trade for Matt Holliday. With Yoenis Cespedes and Josh Reddick holding down the outfield for the next few years, this deal could be a possibility.

With every team trying to improve, there are bound to be numerous offseason deals. Look for the Rays to be active this winter, possibly trading one of their aces. With the Red Sox in a state of rebuilding and the new Wild Card in play, the Rays will have a much better chance at making the playoffs in 2013.

(*The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of mlbreports.com*)

***Today’s feature was prepared by Bernie Olshansky, Baseball Writer & Facebook Administrator.  We highly encourage you to leave your comments and feedback at the bottom of the page and share in the discussion with our readers.  You can also follow Bernie on Twitter (@BernieOlshansky)***

 

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About bernieolshansky

Living in the San Francisco Bay Area, I’ve experienced some exciting times with the local baseball teams—the Giants winning the World Series being the most memorable highlight. Some of my favorite players include Felix Hernandez, Tim Lincecum, and Cliff Lee among others. I played baseball up through my freshman year of high school and transitioned into being a full time fan. I regularly attend major and minor league games when I have free time. I enjoy working at a baseball store. I’m in my senior year of high school and hope to major in Journalism or Sports Administration in college. Follow Bernie on Twitter (@BernieOlshansky).

Posted on November 8, 2012, in MLB Teams: Articles and Analysis and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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