By now everyone has heard rumors that the Rays are shopping some starting pitching around. James “No Game” Shields and Matt Garza are the names rumored to be trade targets for several teams, but Vice President Andrew Friedman is saying otherwise.
Friedman has gone on the record as saying he does not want to trade the starting pitching and he does have his reasons. For one, starting pitching is the most valuable asset a franchise can have. The Rays are built on starting pitching and trading a veteran starter away is not their normal business. Friedman has stressed that injuries occur and having depth is always central to the success of a season. Last season, the Rays lost Davis and Niemann for several starts each and called upon Jeremy Hellickson and Andy Sonnanstine to fill in, highlighting Friedman's point.
But what about the rumors? Yes, the Rays are probably out there shopping Shields and Garza. The Rays have depth in the farm system and at some point Hellickson will be moved into the starting rotation. The franchise has to cut payroll as well and with expiring contracts, now would be the best time to move a starting pitcher and get something useful in return, such as a bullpen pitcher or a bat for the struggling offense.
So now matter what Friedman, Sternberg, Maddon, or Raymond the Ray mascot tells you, the Rays are shopping and may make a move.