Shields deflecting anxiety over trade talk

Shields deflecting anxiety over trade talk

Shields deflecting anxiety over trade talk
ANAHEIM -- James Shields has been the Rays player most mentioned in trade rumors as this season's Trade Deadline approaches. But the Rays right-hander does not seem rattled in the least about being in the conversations for prospective deals that might be made.

"All I can say about that is we go through this every single year," Shields said. "You hear your name pop up. It's kind of interesting to people, but for us as players, we kind of just deal with it. Go along with the flow and whatever happens is going to happen."

Shields insisted that the rumors have not been a distraction.

"I think the first couple of years it was distracting to see other guys talked about, your teammates, your friends leaving, things like that," said Shields, sounded as though he's used to the drill. "But this is my 12th year of pro ball, Minor Leagues and Major Leagues. I've seen people get released in the morning during Spring Training to getting traded in the middle of the year, traded in the offseason, so I didn't even get to say good-bye."

Like a lot of players in the Rays' clubhouse, Shields believes the Rays are still very much in contention for a playoff spot.

"Absolutely, we've got a great team," Shields said. "For as much adversity as we've [been] dealt with this year, being 2 1/2 games back is not that bad."

Shields' name has been mentioned in rumors of deals with the Angels, Dodgers, Braves, Cardinals and Rangers. Now, with Zack Greinke off the table after the Brewers dealt him to the Angels on Friday, Shields' market value likely has gone up even more.

Rays manager Joe Maddon said he could not deny that more attention will be on Shields now that Greinke is no longer available. But he doesn't believe the right-hander is going anywhere.

"At the end of the day I still believe Shieldsy is going to be a Ray after the trade deadline is over," Maddon said. "I mean, all of this conjecture does occur, and there are reasons why they're pointing at James. But I still believe in my heart of hearts that it's not going to happen. And that it's just going to move on and be normal, and he's going to pitch like he can over the last two months of the season."

Remaining with the Rays is the outcome Shields prefers.

"[The Rays have] been my home for 12 years and I love it here," Shields said. "I also know it's a business and teams have to do what they have to do to make themselves better. But I know we've got a good team here."