Rays’ Shields could be option for Detroit

DETROIT — The next couple weeks may get real interesting for the Detroit Tigers.

With baseball’s trade deadline looming, the Tigers, who many experts project to be a heavy player in the trade market, may look for help at pitcher and infielder to try and catch the AL Central-leading White Sox.

One name that came up: Rays right-hander James Shields.

Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com says the Rays could be open to trading Shields for an offensive boost and mentioned the Tigers as a possible destination:

“The Tigers, who seem to have determined that starting pitching is their biggest need, are one team that could be interested in Shields. The Rays, who have searched for years for a catcher, could look to build a deal around Rob Brantly, who is catching for the Tigers’ Triple-A Toledo team.”

Shields, 30, has had an up-and-down, 7-year career with the Rays. While he had a stellar 2011 campaign (16-12, 2.82 ERA, 225 strikeouts in 33 starts), he is struggling in 2012 with an 8-6 record and 4.44 ERA in 19 starts.

Shields is making $7 million this year but has a $9 million option in 2013.

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