James Shields has been a solid part of the Tampa Bay Rays rotation for several seasons. And the Rays stand just three games behind the second wild-card spot in the American League as of Tuesday morning.
That's why this is something of a surprise:
The Rays must feel they have enough starting pitchers stockpiled that they could afford the loss of Shields, who is not having a year commensurate with the rest of his career; he's ballooned to a 4.56 ERA and 1.456 WHIP in 2012, both far worse than his 2011 season and his career averages.
Meanwhile, the Rangers have gotten very little out of their recent signing of Roy Oswalt, who was hit hard by the Angels Monday night, so they're seeking starting rotation help. Whether this will pass beyond the discussion stage in the short time before the deadline is anyone's guess.