James Shields could be moved this offseason due to the $7 million 2012 price tag and the Tampa Rays financial restraints. Andrew Friedman, GM and VP of Baseball Operations for the Rays, could get another affordable piece for a team that could continue to win in a tough situation for years to come. He could deal Shields to the Florida Marlins for Logan Morrison.
The trade would do three things:
1) Open up a rotation spot for Matt Moore, who combined to go 13-3 with a 1.97 ERA in 164 1/3 IP and a 225/49 K/BB between the Minors and Majors this season.
2) Get a cornerstone first baseman who is just 24 and won’t be a Free Agent until 2017. He also has 25 HR, 45 2B, a .351 OBP and an .811 OPS in just 185 games, showing solid on-base skills and power. He has fallen out of favor in the Marlins organization, even getting demoted for unannounced reasons earlier this season.
3) It will give the Marlins a staff ace heading into a new stadium. At 30, Shields will be a nice fit with Josh Johnson (if he can stay healthy), Anibal Sanchez, and Ricky Nolasco in the Marlins rotation for the next few seasons. His contract is reasonable, escalating to $7 million in 2012, $9 million in 2013, and $12 million in 2014. After posting a 2.82 ERA, a league leading 11 complete games and career highs in innings pitched (249 1/3) and strikeouts (225), Shields will be coveted by many teams as the Rays look for new ways to pinch pennies.
The Hot Stove League will start after the World Series and provide numerous rumors and exciting deals for the next few months. As the Packers roll to another Super Bowl Championship, why not focus on a league with more equality in their teams, MLB.