4. James Shields
One of the key contributors to the Rays’ success during the late 2000s, James Shields remains arguably the best big-game pitcher the franchise has ever had. He is still the only pitcher in Rays’ history to record a win in a World Series game, pitching 5.2 shutout innings against a formidable Phillies’ lineup that included the likes of Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, and a prime Ryan Howard.
His best season as a member of the Rays was in 2011 where he went 16-12 with a 2.82 ERA. For his efforts that season, he was awarded his first and only All-Star selection.
Shields time in St. Pete ultimately came to an end in December 2012 when he was traded to the Kansas City Royals where the Rays acquired Wil Myers and Jake Odorizzi. While pitching for the Royals he helped lead them to the World Series in 2014 with some clutch performances. Shields would start Game 1 and 5 of the series but lost both games while the Royals ended up losing the series 4 games to 3 to the San Francisco Giants.
Shields would go on to also pitch for the Chicago White Sox and San Diego Padres but never quite found the same success that he did while with the Rays, a common theme amongst the other players on this list.
Shields holds many of the franchise’s pitching records including wins, strikeouts, and complete game shutouts. Shields’ many accomplishments and statistical feats for this franchise more than warrants a place among the club’s top five players.
2006-2012, All-Star 2011, 87-73 3.89 ERA 1250 SO 1.223 WHIP 19.7 WAR