October 2, 2012; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; aTampa Bay Rays starting pitcher James Shields (33) throws a pitch in the third inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE

Rays Notes: Possibility of Shields Trade, Beginning of Talks for Stadium


Should the Rays trade James Shields this offseason? According to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe and the National League general manager he spoke to, the answer appears to be a resounding yes. Cafardo talks about how the Rays desperately need offense to complement their pitching, and epecially as he becomes more expensive (he makes 9 million dollars in 2013 and 12 million in 2014), now appears to be the time that the Rays finally decide that despite everything Shields has given them over the years, it is time to trade him. He mentions the Rangers as a solid trade fit, with a trade of Shields for Elvis Andrus and another player or two a possible option. Not sure Andrus is exactly the player that the Rays are looking for (he only has two years on remaining on his contract as well), but a trade of Shields is something the Rays absolutely have to consider and although it will hurt when it happens, it might be the Rays’ best option moving forward.

It’s nice to see some articles in the Tampa Bay Times talking about the Rays situation in a positive light. Well, mostly. After the the Rays offered to Luke Scott Talks Returning” href=”http://rayscoloredglasses.com/2012/10/13/rays-notes-sternberg-rays-talk-stadium-luke-scott-talks-returning/” target=”_blank”>start negotiations with CityScape after an amendment of the Tropicana Field lease, several key figures have responded.

(St. Petersburg mayor Bill) Foster said he needed to consult with staff and City Council members before formulating a response. The current Tropicana Field contract, which runs through 2027, forbids the Rays from negotiating a new stadium deal anywhere. And Foster has been adamant that Rays must stay in St. Petersburg for the next 15 years, either at Tropicana Field or in a new stadium.

But Foster did characterize the Sternberg letter as “opening dialogue.”

….

 “I’m thrilled that the Rays have accepted our offer to come to speak to our board,” Hillsborough commission Chairman Ken Hagan said Thursday. “This is what I’ve been pushing for all along. I think this is significant step toward coming to a long-term resolution.”

….

Pinellas County Commissioner Ken Welch lauded the Rays’ letter as “a very exciting development” and said he didn’t have a problem with the team exploring Hillsborough sites.

The city, the county and CityScape “can put a very competitive proposal on the table but the dialogue has to happen,” Welch said. “And that hasn’t been happening for a few years.”

….

The Rays’ proposed amendment would wipe out the city’s ability to sue anyone in Hillsborough or Pinellas County for interfering with the current contact, Wolfe said, but would maintain that threat outside those counties.

The team “could not go to Connecticut,” (City Attorney John) Wolfe told the council.

As for the Rays’ offer of veto power, Wolfe warned that council members could come under intense pressure if the team cut a tentative deal in Hillsborough and then the city demanded tough buyout terms. The council could be criticized for killing a deal and pushing the Rays away from the area altogether.

The middle two responses were great developments, while the other two seem neutral at best. But at the very least there are serious talks now regarding a possible stadium, and one way or another a solution is on the way.

In other news, David Price somehow ended the boxing career of someone named Audley Harrison with a first round knockout. Oh wait… wrong David Price.

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