The chances the Rays will trade a top starting pitcher such as James Shields, David Price or Jeremy Hellickson have increased along with the value of big-time starters, sources familiar with the Rays' thinking said.
Along with the likelihood of the Rays trading a high-profile arm increasing, the "value of big-time starters" is also on the rise, according to Heyman. With free agent Zack Greinke’s expected contract getting into the range of $185 million, Heyman says Rays’ people "understand that the trade value for their trio of top starters is also rising."
While most teams would be happy with one of Shields, Price or Hellickson, Tampa Bay also has talented pitchers in Matt Moore, Alex Cobb, Jeff Niemann and Wade Davis. For this reason the Rays can afford to deal a starter to help fill other areas of need.
Heyman notes that all of the "losers in the Greinke derby" could turn their attention to the Rays and their trio of available arms. So far the Los Angeles Dodgers appear to be the favorite for Greinke, but others, including the Los Angeles Angels, Texas Rangers, Kansas City Royals, Boston Red Sox and Detroit Tigers, are all believed to be in the market for top-tier starting pitching.