There is a report out of Los Angeles that the Dodgers have targeted Tampa Bay Rays pitcher James Shields as their top offseason priority. For Shields, it's just part of life as the highest-paid member of the team. The Rays made that official Wednesday when they picked up the 2013 options on Shields ($10.25 million), closer Fernando Rodney ($2.5 million) and catcher Jose Molina ($1.8 million) and declined the option on designated hitter Luke Scott ($6 million). "In the past years my name was thrown out there quite a bit (in trade rumors), and I expect it to be thrown out there this offseason as well," Shields said. "But right now I'm happy my option got picked up, and I'm going to go about my offseason business as usual, and we'll see what happens." Rays executive vice president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman reiterated Wednesday what he said after the season ended: He does not feel pressure to dip into the team's deep pitching to improve the offense. "We certainly don't feel like we have to," Friedman said. "I don't think we ever want to enter into any decisions feeling like we have to do something and if something lines up that works well for both teams where we trade some pitching, we'll do it. But if it doesn't, we're more than happy to keep it and let that be a real strength of our 2013 team as well." David Price, the 20-game winner in 2012 who could win his first Cy Young Award later this month, is arbitration-eligible, meaning his 2013 salary could jump as high as $10 million from the $4.35 million he made last season. Given the Rays' payroll issues, it's hard to imagine they could commit as much as $20 million to a pair of pitchers, even when those pitchers are Shields and Price. But when asked if he sees a scenario where Price and Shields are on the Opening Day roster, Friedman said, "Of course, I do."
Rumors swirl on Rays' Shields; Rodney, Molina back in mix
Tampa Tribune | Nov 1