Yesterday, Rob Rogacki of Bless You Boys noted that Tampa Bay Rays' 29-year-old right hander James Shields might be acquirable, citing a quote on MLB Trade Rumors that the Rays have "quietly let it be known that right-hander Shields is available for the right price."
Well, with the Tigers clearly in the market for pitching, they've decided to put their hat in the potential ring. According to CBS Sports' Danny Knobler, the Tigers plan to have two scouts at Tropicana Field tonight to watch Shields pitch against the Yankees.
This certainly could suggest the Tigers will make a play for Shields, but it doesn't necessarily mean the Rays are doing anything more than humoring suitors. In fact, one league official says the Rays aren't trading Shields:
"They're not moving Shields," that official said, adding that the Rays may even be looking to add bullpen help and a right-handed bat.
As Knobler points out, the Rays are 6.5 games back of the Yankees for the Wild Card, so a win tonight can only hurt what are probably already slim chances of acquiring Shields without giving up the farm. Nobody really knows for sure, though -- that's what makes trading season so crazy!
Shields is statistically the best pitcher the Tigers have been linked to. He touts a 2.60 ERA and 1.002 WHIP in 150 innings pitched, with a strikeout rate of 8.78 batters per nine innings.