Just when you thought it was safe to be a member of the St. Louis Cardinals rotation: Post-Dispatch rumor maven Joe Strauss, appearing on Tim McKernan's ITD Morning After show on KFNS, returned Shelby Miller trade rumors to their place of prominence in the Cardinals' trade deadline discussions by suggesting a specific name in return: James Shields, of the Tampa Bay Rays. Here's 140 characters, give or take, from McKernan's tweeted summary of the interview:
Strauss on if Shelby Miller for Shields is real: Miller is available. I think the Cardinals would rather trade Miller than Carlos Martinez.— Tim McKernan (@tmckernan) July 26, 2012
James Shields is an interesting-enough name that even those of us who remain firm believers in Shelby Miller's future have to take notice when it comes up. At 30 years old he's proved remarkably durable, put together some fine seasons in the middle of Tampa's famous rotation, and, while he was at it, given his team two option years, in 2013 and 2014, for a total of $21 million.
He's having a rough season now, but his peripherals are nearly as good as usual; his 3.18 strikeout-to-walk ratio is more likely to carry forward than the .339 BAbip. The main thing this trade has to recommend it, however, is that he wouldn't just be a 2012 rental.