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MLB Trade Rumors: Latest on Jose Fernandez, James Shields and More

Published by Bleacher Report on Wed, 09 Dec 2015

The Major League Baseball winter meetings in Nashville, Tennessee, are in full swing as rumors and speculation swirl around countless players and teams looking to make a change.While some wheeling and dealing has already been done in a few notable deals, some of the biggest names in the game have become available on the trading block. Let's take a look at the latest on some of baseball's hottest trade rumors.Jose FernandezMiami Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez has surprisingly become a trade target this offseason after reports surfaced, via WINZ's Andy Slater, that Fernandez asked Marlins managementto be tradedmultiple times during the 2015 season.It's that kind of attitude that saw him fall out of favor of some teammates, who anonymously told Slater that they hoped the 23-year-old would get "shelled" while pitching.According to ESPN.com's Jayson Stark, the New York Yankees, Los Angeles Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks have spoken with the Marlins about a deal. On Tuesday, an unidentified fourth team, per Stark, entered the conversation as well. Representatives from other teams around the league told Stark that it's the Houston Astros, though there has been no confirmation on those reports.Stark deduced why the Astros would be an interested party: "The Astros would make sense as a trade partner because of Fernandez's age and relatively low salary as a first-time arbitration-eligible player, along with Houston's depth of prospects and young players already in the major leagues."Put him in the same rotation as American League Cy Young Award winner Dallas Keuchel, and the Astros would be a tough team to hit next season.Per theMiami Herald's Clark Spencer, Marlins president of baseball operations Mike Hill has continually told teams that Fernandez is unavailable, but those interested continue to call.Even the possibility of an available arm like Fernandez is justifiable for teams to continue hounding the Marlins. Fernandez is 22-9 in a career that was interrupted by Tommy John surgery and could provide a fantastic one-two punch with any of the teams reportedly involved in talks.In New York, Fernandez would join Masahiro Tanaka, who experienced a sophomore slump of sorts with the Yankees, seeing his ERA balloon from 2.77 to 3.51. With the uncertainty surrounding CC Sabathia, who cut his 2015 season short to enter rehab, an All-Star-caliber arm is needed for a Yankees team that allowed over 650 runs last season.With the Diamondbacks, Fernandez would team up with Zack Greinke, who signed a six-year, $206.5 million deal on Dec. 4. However, the addition of Shelby Miller from the Atlanta Braves on Tuesday could cool off their interest if Fernandez were available.Having lost Greinke to Arizona, the Dodgers could use Fernandez as support for Clayton Kershaw, one of the most consistently dominant pitchers in the game over the past five seasons. An arm like his could ensure they'll remain as one of the favorites in the National League West.James ShieldsFor a pitcher who just completed the first season of a four-year, $75 million deal (via Spotrac.com), the San Diego Padres' James Shields hasn't exactly been the "Big Game James" he was once billed as while a member of the Kansas City Royals.Going 13-7 last season with a 3.91 ERA, Shields was one of a few acquisitions during the 2014 offseason including the Upton brothers, Melvin and Justin, and Matt Kempthat didn't translate into winning, as the Padres limped to a 74-88 record in 2015.His walks increased from 44 in 2014 to 81 in 2015, and rival executives told Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthalthat Shields' "velocity and stuff" were on the decline.Some other intangibles were nowhere to be found, either, according to thePioneer Press' Mike Berardino:In fact, Shields was put on waivers by the Padres in August, but he cleared, which makes it odd that Shields is now drawing trade interest, according to ESPN's Buster Olney.While he's struggled recently, the 33-year-old could be an attractive option for teams looking for help in the middle of their rotation. The problem is, the Padres' asking price might be too much.According to Stark, San Diego is looking for a young shortstop, among other things. The Padres received little contributionfrom Alexi Amarista and Clint Barmes at short last season, as the two combined for a .215 average with four home runs and 43 RBI.Taking Shields' contract while giving up a prospect might be too steep of a demand for teams interested in him. If the Padres decide to eat some of Shields' deal, it could help things move along in finding him a new home.Orioles In Search of 1st BasemanThe more the winter meetings progress, the less likely it seems that free-agent first baseman Chris Davis will be returning to the Baltimore Orioles.Baltimore met with Davis' agent, Scott Boras, on Tuesday, according to Eduardo A. Encina of theBaltimore Sun, and little progress was made.Elsewhere, the Orioles were looking at other options at first base, according to Rosenthal:Since Rosenthal announced Baltimore's interest, theMilwaukee Journal Sentinel's Tom Haudricourt reported that the Orioles are not matching up with the Brewers on Adam Lind.That leaves the Texas Rangers' Mitch Moreland, who will be going through arbitration this season. Moreland, a left-handed bat like Davis, is coming off of the best season of his career with a .278 average with 23 home runs and 85 RBI.It's difficult to compare that to Davis, who hit .262 with 47 home runs and 117 RBI.But if he does decide to walk, the Orioles are going to need some kind of left-handed pop in their lineup. Davis was the only left-handed Oriole last season to hit more than nine home runs.However, they would need to have something that would make the Rangers pull the trigger on a deal involving Moreland, and it might have to come from behind the plate.TheStar-Telegram's Jeff Wilson stated that the Rangers need help with their catching situation after they started five different players at the position and received little production in 2015.It's unclear if the Orioles are willing to part with the likes of Matt Wieters or Caleb Joseph, as the Rangers would probably be looking for a major league-ready catcher instead of prospects. But if Baltimore retains Chris Davis, then it might not have to worry about any of this.Stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com.
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