Shields not worrying about trade rumors

Shields not worrying about trade rumors

Shields not worrying about trade rumors
BALTIMORE -- James Shields isn't thinking about how Thursday's start may have been his last in a Rays uniform.

Major League Baseball's non-waiver Trade Deadline is Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET, and Shields' next outing with the Rays is scheduled for about six hours later, in Oakland.

But the right-hander isn't focused on the rumors that have been fluttering around the past few weeks, rumors that have him linked to the Angels, Rangers, Tigers and Dodgers, among many other possible suitors.

"I worry about that later, after the fact that it happens," Shields said. "As of right now, I'm a Ray, and I'm going to try to win some games for us this year."

But that doesn't mean Shields isn't hearing all of the talk.

"It's out there," he said. "This happens every year. I heard a bunch of stuff last year too, as well. Heard a bunch of stuff this offseason. It's just kind of one of those things where, I've been in the game long enough to realize that this is a business, and this is what goes on, and you just never know what's going to happen. So you've just kind of got to let it go and not really worry about it."

Manager Joe Maddon isn't all that concerned with all of the trade talk, either. Far from revealing the Rays' intentions as the Deadline approaches, Maddon opted to give the stock answer when asked on Wednesday about all of the possibilities.

"You're always looking to get better," Maddon said. "But even if we don't do anything, I believe that the group out here right now can get to the playoffs again. I'm still going to stand by my stance from the beginning -- we're going to go to the World Series this year. I'm not backing down from that."

Maddon sees the starting pitching as his team's biggest strength, and doesn't envision a breakup of the rotation with the Rays very much in contention.

Rather, he sees the latest flow of rumors as a product of the system and something he's become very used to. Center fielder B.J. Upton, an impending free agent, has been the subject of similar rumors for the past two seasons.

"All of these rumors are going to happen, every year it's somebody else with us," Maddon said. "B.J. has been the rumor or trade du jour on an annual basis, and now this year it's James. I really don't anticipate anything happening."

"To not have James in the mix would be very difficult to get back to the promised land. So, as normal, we hear this every year, but I really don't anticipate a lot to happen, or anything to happen."

Bigger than any acquisition the Rays could make in the trade market would be the healthy return of Evan Longoria, who was hitting .329/.433/.561 with four home runs and 19 RBIs through 23 games before suffering a partial tear of his left hamstring.

"The most helpful part would be that he's well, that he can continue to play," Maddon said. "That'd be the most helpful, as opposed to thinking that you have to go get somebody else."