Rays Rotation Schedule Makes Shields Trade Look Unlikely

By Robbie Knopf

Here in just the last couple of days before the trade deadline, we still have to wait and see exactly what the Rays will do. One move that has been rumored is that the Rays will trade starter James Shields. But according to their starting pitching schedule, such a move does not seem to make much sense.

Shields is scheduled to start on July 31st, the day of the deadline. No one the Rays have is available to replace him. David Price starts tonight, July 30th. Jeremy Hellickson started July 29th. Matt Moore started July 28th. And Alex Cobb started July 27th and he can’t go on three days’ rest. What about the Rays’ rotation options in the minors? Well, Chris Archer started on July 29th at Triple-A and he’s clearly unavailable. He also has been dealing with oblique problems, which means that he’s not ready to join the big league rotation. And Jeff Niemann is still hurt. So who’s the only option? Cesar Ramos, who pitched on July 26th for the Triple-A Durham Bulls and has started a game for the Rays this season, but he has made just one 5 inning appearance the entire season and it seems crazy to suddenly trust him with a rotation spot. Maybe down the line, Ramos could be a fit. But depending on Ramos on July 31st seems crazy. And if the Rays had really wanted to deal Shields, don’t you think that they would have held Archer out of his start to give them more options?

Does this mean that James Shields will certainly not be traded? No. But it doesn’t seem like the plan is to trade him. Maybe they get an offer they can’t refuse and a trade happens. But pending something extreme, don’t expect Shields to be dealt before the deadline.