Results tagged ‘ Rays ’

July 27 Late Night Roundup

  • The Giants added some infield depth on Friday night, acquiring Marco Scutaro and cash from the Rockies for Triple-A infielder Charlie Culberson.
  • Despite losing out to the division rival Angels for Zack Greinke, the Rangers are “not necessarily” turning their attention to the Rays’ James Shields or the Marlins’ Josh Johnson, a source told our own T.R. Sullivan.
  • Shields and Johnson are the two premiere names left in the starting pitching market. Several teams, including the Rangers, Dodgers, Braves and Cardinals are rumored to hold interest in Shields. But the veteran right-hander insisted the situation hasn’t been a distraction and that he’d like to remain with Tampa Bay. The Marlins, meanwhile, are asking for a ton in exchange for Johnson.
  • The Phillies probably aren’t ready to part with center fielder Shane Victorino just yet, but they are listening to offers, according to ESPN’s Jayson Stark.

– Andrew Simon

More Teams Interested in Shields

Earlier reports had the Rangers, Angels and Dodgers interested in James Shields.  Now, according to a report by Fox Sports, the Braves and Cardinals can be added to that mix.

While the idea of the Rays trading Shields when the team is just 2 1/2 games out of the Wild Card spot still seems remote, there are some interesting aspects to this year’s trade market.  The Rays have never felt any pressure to make moves due to deadlines such as the trade deadline and actually have taken the stance that players usually have better value in the off-season when more teams are interested.  But, if in fact there are as many teams interested in Shields as reported, the Rays might be able to get the deal that blows them away that could pry away Shields.

Shields’ recent numbers have not been good, but he is healthy and could help any team by the fact he eats up innings alone.  In addition, he is under control for another two years for reasonable sums.  So his attractiveness is understandable.

–Bill Chastain

Angels’ chances of landing SP ‘below average’

The non-waiver Trade Deadline is now only five days away, and the Angels continue to work diligently to find a reliable starter for their rotation or an additional weapon for their bullpen, or both.

Can first-year general manager Jerry Dipoto work his magic to shore up some glaring holes on the Angels’ staff?

The chips are stacked against him, it seems.

A source with knowledge of the team’s thinking described the Angels’ chances of acquiring a starter as “below average and diminishing” on Thursday. The asking prices are too high, the competition for pitching is too intense – largely due to the additional Wild Card that has more teams in the hunt than ever – and the Angels don’t have an abundance of intriguing prospects to offer up.

That, and a $155 million payroll with little wiggle room, has made the Angels’ search for a starter “an uphill task,” the source said – before adding, “But don’t underestimate Jerry.”

The Angels continue to search for additional bullpen pieces, particularly a cost-controlled lefty. But it’s starting pitching – the one area that seemed rock solid at the start of the year – that seems most necessary considering the struggles of Ervin Santana and the recent back troubles of Dan Haren.

But how many feasible upgrades are out there?

Cole Hamels has agreed to a lucrative extension to stay in Philadelphia, the Marlins seem unwilling to part ways with Josh Johnson, Wandy Rodriguez has moved on to the Pirates, Matt Garza has some elbow issues, Ryan Dempster seemingly only wants to pitch for the Dodgers and Francisco Liriano is fresh off giving up seven runs in 2 2/3 innings, putting his ERA at 5.31.

That makes the competition for the likes of James Shields (signed pretty affordably through 2014) and Zack Greinke (free-agent-to-be) quite fierce.

It would be a shock, a source said, if the Angels were to move Garrett Richards, who’s 24, cost-controlled for five more seasons and boasts a ton of upside. Young center fielder Peter Bourjos, a reserve with Mike Trout now in the fold, is perhaps their biggest chip – though Dipoto has publicly said he’s unwilling to trade him because he’s still a big part of their future. Then there are prospects like middle infielder Jean Segura, catcher Hank Conger, first baseman C.J. Cron and pitcher John Hellweg, among others, who could be expendable in the right package.

More on Angels.com soon.

Alden Gonzalez

Latest on the Rays

Rumors that James Shields is going to the Angels for Hank Conger, Peter Bourjos, and Ervin Santana have been constant, but ESPN’s Jayson Stark tempered those rumors by noting that Evan Longoria’s return would likely cut the Rays incentive to trade Shields since, with Longoria back in the lineup, the Rays would have much-improved chances to earn a spot in the playoffs.

Stark also reported that there is a “big market” for Rays reliever Wade Davis.

–Bill Chastain

Shields another SP option for Angels

There are indications that the Angels have interest in trading for Rays starting pitcher James Shields. Whether they can actually get a deal done in the 10 days leading up to the non-waiver Trade Deadline remains to be seen — but Shields is an intriguing name for several reasons.

He was born and raised in Southern California (Newhall), is under contract through 2014 (the Angels are very hesitant to trade for any rental players, especially under this new CBA) and would provide an instant upgrade to their staff, which has been among the best in the American League all year but has a 4.98 ERA in July.

The Rays had a high-level scout at Comerica Park earlier this week — while Garrett Richards threw seven scoreless innings against the Tigers on Tuesday — and the Angels reportedly had a scout in St. Petersburg, Fla., on Friday, when Shields gave up three runs in 7 2/3 innings in a no-decision against the Mariners. But that could also be due to the fact that these two clubs play each other next weekend.

Shields, 30, has struggled a bit this year, going 8-6 with a 4.39 ERA and leading the Majors in hits allowed. But he’s a known commodity who’s been very durable, averaging 220 innings while posting a 3.86 ERA from 2007-11, and has long been the subject of trade talks. Shields also has two affordable club options coming up, for $9 million in 2013 and $12 million in 2014. The Angels could free up money to pick up those options by declining those of either Dan Haren ($15.5 million) or Ervin Santana ($13 million).

One potential hiccup in any deal with the Rays: They’re strapped financially and are hesitant to take on any money in a deal.

Prior to Saturday’s game, manager Mike Scioscia announced Richards will get the start on Tuesday, a move that would send Jerome Williams to the bullpen.

Will the Angels have a new starter by then?

– Alden Gonzalez

Opening Day at Tropicana Frield

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Opening Day brought out a festive atmosphere to Tropicana Field, where the Rays opened their 2012 season Friday afternoon against the Yankees.

The pregame activities began with Jim Dundee, son of the late boxing legend Angelo Dundee, delivering the ceremonial first pitch Evan Longoria. The ball used was the one struck by Evan Longoria for his walk-off home run in the 12th inning of Game 162, on Sept. 28, 2011, sending the Rays to the postseason.

Angelo, an avid Rays fan and Clearwater, Fla., resident, died on Feb. 1 at the age of 90.

After the Yankees’ introduction along the third-base line, the Rays were introduced to raucous applause from the sellout crowd. Maddon, Carlos Pena, James Shields, Longoria, and Don Zimmer received particularly loud ovations.

Popular Tampa Bay area saxophonist B.K. Jackson performed the National Athem, which led up to a showing of a film that captured the drama from Game 161, much to the delight of the crowd.

The pre-game ceremony concluded when the Rays hoisted an American League 2011 Wild Card banner, which joined a 2010 AL East Champions banner, and 2008 banners for winning the AL East and with the American League pennant. All of the banners reside above the left-field stands.

Angels still in the mix to land Cordero

Free-agent closer Francisco Cordero expects to pick a team by the end of this week, and the Angels are one of four finalists for his services, a source with knowledge of the negotiations told MLB.com.

The identity of the other three clubs is not known at this point, but one of the four, the source said, is a championship-contending team looking to slot him in the eighth inning. That may be the Phillies, which could use a setup man for the recently signed Jonathan Papelbon. The Orioles have also reportedly been in touch. The Rays, which have a need in the ninth inning, are not one of those other three clubs, however.

At this point in the offseason, with the closer’s market dried up and a return to the Reds seemingly not possible, Cordero is open to signing a one-year deal, which would be huge for an Angels club that has already inked Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson to long-term deals this offseason and doesn’t have much money to spend.

In Anaheim, Cordero would supplant 24-year-old Jordan Walden, who finished last year with a 2.98 ERA and 32 saves but fell off in September. Cordero, 36, is a three-time All-Star with a career 3.17 ERA and 327 saves. Last year with the Reds, he posted a 2.45 ERA and a 1.019 WHIP, and converted 37 of his 43 save chances.

The market for Cordero has taken a while to develop, mostly because teams figured a return to Cincinnati was a foregone conclusion. Once Ryan Madson signed a bargain-rate one-year, $8.5 million deal to be the Reds’ closer, though, interest around the league intensified.

The Angels were one of the first teams to reach out to Cordero’s representative, Bean Stringfellow, and have been in touch throughout the offseason, according to a source. They’ve also been in touch with right-handed reliever Luis Ayala.

– Alden Gonzalez 

Rays in Hunt for Beltran

Tampa Bay is in the mix to sign Carlos Beltran according to CBS Sports, which said the Cardinals, Blue Jays and Red Sox also are vying for the veteran center fielder.

Tampa Bay could use the six-time all-star at either DH or in the outfield. The two biggest questions facing the Rays are: 1) Will he be affordable? (Remember, Beltran finished off a seven-year, $119 million deal in 2011. 2) Would he be able to adjust to playing DH? (All Rays fans remember Pat Burrell’s struggles while being used at DH full-time).

According to the story, Beltran hopes to make a decision by Christmas.

– Bill Chastain

Reds talk w/Rays

It’s been a slow week for the Reds, especially in their efforts to nab a starting pitcher in a trade. General manager Walt Jocketty said Wednesday has had some meetings about trades, including with the Rays.

“I’ve talked to them several times,” Jocketty said. “I don’t think we’re close to anything.”

Jocketty did not divulge who was discussed. I can imagine James Shields had to have been one of the teams from the Rays’ end.

*Further down the list has been a search for a right-handed hitting left fielder. There has been thought given to adding free agent OF Cody Ross, who had a very brief stint with the Reds in 2006.

“We kicked it around,” Jocketty said. “I saw his agent around in the lobby. He said he’d be interested in coming back. I told him we’d discuss it and we did. We have some other things to do first.

*When asked about OF Dmitri Young, who has been in Dallas seeking a job and comeback, Jocketty said he would consider it. He liked him when he had Young in St. Louis.

– Mark Sheldon

Rays Will Talk About Upton

According to a tweet by ESPN’s Buster Olney, the Rays are telling teams they will talk about dealing B.J. Upton, but they would have to be overwhelmed to move him. That sentiment sounds in line with what Andrew Friedman expressed when the Rays executive vice president of baseball operations told reporters — after being asked about Upton — that he was looking to improve the offense. His meaning was clear, he is not looking to trade major contributors to an offense that struggled to score runs in 2011.
–Bill Chastain

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