June 28, 2012; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher James Shields (33) reacts on the mound in the eighth inning as he gets taken out of the game against the Detroit Tigers at Tropicana Field. Detroit Tigers defeated the Tampa Bay Rays 5-2. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE
With inconsistent starting pitching from the No. 4 and No. 5 starting rotation slots in the Los Angeles Angels' rotation, the team has dispatched scouts around the league to extensively watch several of the top pitchers on the market, writes Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times.
"The Angels have scouted Tampa Bay pitchers James Shields and Jeremy Hellickson extensively, and Monday night they had scouts in Miami to watch Marlins right-hander Josh Johnson pitch against Atlanta and in Chicago to see Minnesota left-hander Francisco Liriano pitch against the White Sox."
The Angels sent their director of professional scouting, Hal Morris, to watch Shields' start on Friday night. DiGiovanna is also reporting the Rays would be willing to part with Hellickson, their young and cost-effective starter, if the return would boost the Rays' offense.
But Shields certainly seems like the type of player the Rays will move soon (selling high on players with a higher annual salary) and could receive a good enough return to make it worthwhile.
The team also has interest in top pitchers Zack Greinke and Cole Hamels, just in case the Milwaukee Brewers and Philadelphia Phillies, respectively, are willing to move their guys. But the Angels don't have the top prospects to meet the high asking price for either.