The Tampa Bay Rays have several players that teams are considering trade targets this winter. While nearly everyone on their roster would seem to be in play, Tampa Bay will require a significant return if they decide to move top names such as B.J. Upton and James Shields.
While recapping the opening day of the 2011 Winter Meetings, Rays general manager Andrew Friedman told reporters that there are “a lot of teams that could use pitching”. This puts Tampa Bay in a good position because, according to Friedman, the Rays have “really good pitching”. Not only that, but the club also has a large amount of depth that would allow them to trade one of their top starters this winter without missing much of a beat in 2012.
Many of the Rays starters have been involved in trade talks this offseason. While David Price, Jeremy Hellickson and Matt Moore figure to be staying put, Shields, Jeff Niemann and Wade Davis all have the potential to be dealt.
In return for their pitching, the Rays are looking to upgrade their offense. While Niemann or Davis may be more affordable this winter, Shields’ price tag is sky-high.
To get an idea of just how much the Rays are looking for in return for Shields you can look at their proposal to the Kansas City Royals who have expressed interest in the right-hander. In return for Shields, the Rays were asking for Royals closer Joakim Soria, top prospect Wil Myers and middle infielder Christian Colon.
While this might seem like a ridiculous request, the Rays do not have to trade Shields this winter. If they do deal Shields, Tampa Bay will likely have to be overwhelmed by an offer.
When asked about the prospects of Upton, all Friedman said was that the Rays are looking to upgrade their offense. This would seem to indicate that Tampa Bay is not looking to trade their center fielder, but it is rumored that Upton is available. Similar to Shields, the Rays would have to be wowed in any deal involving Upton this winter.
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