In a brief series, we'll take a look at possible trade deadline targets for the Texas Rangers after perhaps their top target, Cole Hamels, has re-signed with the Philadelphia Phillies.
With Colby Lewis being out for the season, Roy Oswalt's back being hard to trust and the future of Neftali Feliz with the Rangers being somewhat shaky, there is an obvious need for starting pitching help at the July 31 trade deadline. We've touched on Zack Greinke and Josh Johnson and today, we'll hit on a name the Rangers are reportedly just now getting involved with according to CBS Sports' Danny Knobler.
James Shields is reportedly being made available by the struggling Tampa Bay Rays, and while the Angels were the frontrunner for Shields early on, the Rangers appear to be in the running for the innings-eater now.
Shields had a fantastic season last year for the Rays, leading the league in complete games (11) and shutouts (4) in nearly 250 innings. But aside from last season, he's been a pretty average pitcher in his seven seasons with the Rays with a career ERA of 4.00.
It's been reported the Rangers aren't interested in trading for a pitcher and parting with some of their top prospects, most notably Mike Olt, unless they can get a pitcher who would immediately go to the top 2 spots in the team's rotation, maybe top 3.
Shields really doesn't fit that criteria. He's almost a Colby Lewis clone, except Lewis has better career numbers since his return from playing in Japan.
2012 stats: 8-6, 4.39 ERA, 124 strikeouts, 39 walks, 1.44 WHIP
Likelihood of becoming a Ranger (on scale of 1-10): 3
Pros: Controllable past this season, could possibly be a top-3 guy in 2013 if he gets back to 2011 form, wouldn't cost as much in way of prospects as other targets might
Cons: Doesn't really fit Rangers' plan of getting a dominant horse for the postseason