The Washington Nationals have talked to the Tampa Bay Rays about trades involving right-hander James Shields, reports Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com:
The Nationals have talked to the Rays about trades for star pitcher James Shields, though the status of those talks is uncertain now.
Heyman adds that the Nationals view Shields as a "cost-effective alternative" to free agent right-hander Zack Greinke. While Washington has been viewed as a potential fit for Greinke, Shields’ salary is "more manageable," according to Heyman. One National League executive that Heyman spoke with told him that the Los Angeles Dodgers are "scaring teams away" when it comes to Greinke.
It was reported yesterday that the Rays expressed interest in Nationals first baseman/ outfielder Mike Morse and infielder Danny Espinosa. Tampa Bay has starting pitching depth to trade, and they are reportedly shopping arms to fill offensive areas of need.
Beyond the Nationals, the Boston Red Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers and Kansas City Royals are among the teams that are interested in Shields.
Last season with the Rays Shields maintained an ERA of 3.53 over 33 starts. In seven years at the major league level the 30-year-old has posted an ERA of 3.89 with 7.7 strikeouts and 2.1 walks per nine innings.