I’ll start by reporting that mlbtraderumors.com is reporting that Joel Sherman of the New York Post is reporting that the Tampa Bay Rays are drawing “lots of interest” in James Shields, Jeremy Hellickson and Wade Davis, and that “The Rays are hoping demand for Shields spikes once Zack Greinke gets traded. It’s conceivable that a bidding war could emerge between the Angels and Rangers.”
Shields should be one of the most sought-after players in the trade market, if he is indeed available. At his worst, he is a league-average 2.0-WAR starter. At his best he is a 5.0-WAR starter among the games better number twos. He is a better pitcher than Ryan Dempster and Matt Garza, and unlike both of them and Greinke, Shields is under control for two more seasons, with his current deal including a $9 million option for 2013 and a $12 million option for 2014. If Garza is worth Zach Lee to the Dodgers, Shields should fetch far more than Zach Lee. If having Dempster for two months was worth Randall Delgado to the Braves, Atlanta should value Shields at Delgado plus two more prospects or young cost-controlled players already in MLB.
The big question, though, is: Should the Rays trade James Shields?