According to Tim Kurkjian of ESPN, the Angels and the Rays have been involved in numerous trade talks –
including a trade that would send James Shield to Los Angeles. However, Kurkjian says the talk involving Shields have fizzled. The two teams are still working towards some type of deal.
When the original rumor of a Shields deal broke, it was reported that the Angels may be sending Peter Bourjos, their young center fielder prospect, and catcher Hank Conger to Tampa Bay. That deal may not materialize, but a trade involving Shields is not completely out of the questions.
Shields is having a down year this season and it’s clear the Rays want to trade him while he still has his highest value. Last year, Shields posted a 2.82 ERA and pitched 11 complete games. This year, his ERA is sitting at a hefty 4.39 and he has yet to toss a single complete game. The Angels, though, could use him for a stretch run. With a rotation that already includes C.J. Wilson, Dan Haren, and Jered Weaver, Shields could be the final piece they need. Ervin Santana has struggled this season, and Shields could easily step into his role.
Bourjos would be the key piece of any deal from Tampa Bay’s perspective. He is just 25 years old, plays a solid centerfield, and showed off his flashes of greatness last season when he posted a 115 OPS+. This year, he has struggled right along with a lot of the other Angels’ starters, hitting just .223/.285/.331. But he’s in just his third Major League season – his second full season.
The Rays are currently 50-47 and eight games back in the American League East. They are just 2.5 games back in the Wild Card though. Any deal involving Shields would have to bring back enough talent to help them push through the rest of the season without hindering their play-off hopes.
The Angels, on the other hand, are vying for the American League West. They currently sit in the top Wild Card slot – tied with the Oakland A’s, but they want to win the west. They’ve watched the Rangers do it the last few seasons. As their offense continues to pick up, Shields can help the starting rotation get back close to what they were last season.
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