Trading Shields Doesn’t Add Up
James Shields has been rumored to be getting traded to the Cardinals, Reds, and Rockies. The only problem is any deal that includes Shields doesn’t seem to add up given the way the Rays have conducted business in the past.
Yes, they have traded away the likes of Matt Garza and Jason Bartlett, but neither had a contract like Shields in which the club had control. His current contract that pays him $4.25 million this season, $7 million next season (with a $2 million buyout), advancing to the final year of his deal, 2014 where he will be paid $12 million with a club option to buy him out at $1 million.
Tampa Bay normally makes moves to take uncertainty out of the equation, such as signing Wade Davis, Evan Longoria — and Shields, to long-term deals early in their careers and not getting in a bidding war to re-sign Carl Crawford.
Aside from the financial part of the equation, Shields has been exemplary with his work ethic — which is important based on the number of young pitchers moving through the team’s system — and he’s a workhorse. And there are reasons the Rays always seem to manage to cobble together a decent bullpen and one of them is the fact the team’s starting pitching eats up a lot of innings. Shields is the king of inning eaters as he’s well on his way to his fifth consecutive 200-inning season.
While the Rays will listen to any team about any player, trading Shields at this point of his career would come as a big surprise.