CLEVELAND, OH - JULY 8: Starting pitcher James Shields #33 of the Tampa Bay Rays reacts after giving up two runs during the third inning against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field on July 8, 2012 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Interested teams are starting to wonder how just serious the Rays really are about trading James Shields. The Rays are said to be seeking "north of Greinke," referring to the three-prospect package the Brewers got for star pitcher Zack Greinke.
A trade package "north of Greinke" is too steep a price to pay in the eyes of at least one team as the Texas Rangers stepped out of negotiations for Shields, reports T.R. Sullvian of MLB.com. The Braves, Cardinals, Indians and Dodgers are still interested in the right-hander, but it is unclear how much they are willing to give up to acquire him.
Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports speculates that Shields will likely stay put and that it now makes more sense for the Rays to retain him to make a playoff push.
With the market for pitching still not turning – the teams that wanted Shields either didn't have the goods nor were willing to deal them, and attempts at three-way deals died before they were even seedlings – it makes more sense that Tampa Bay aim for its fourth playoff spot in five years.
Tampa Bay currently stands 7 1/2 games back in the AL East and just two games out of a wild card spot.
Does Shields deserve a Greinke-like trade package?