When James Shields went from the Rays to the Royals the other night, the Tigers were doubly disappointed.
They didn't like seeing Shields land in their division, with a team that might now be good enough to challenge them. But there was another reason.
They wanted Shields, too.
The Tigers made a late bid for Shields, according to sources, offering outfielder Avisail Garcia and other prospects. The Rays like Garcia, but the Tigers weren't able to match the overall package the Royals offered. There's some debate about how much chance the Tigers had, but there's no question that they tried.
The Rangers and Diamondbacks were also known to have tried for Shields. The Tigers' interest was first reported Tuesday by Jim Duquette of MLB Network Radio, and was confirmed to CBSSports.com by sources familiar with the discussions.
The Tigers have asked about Shields before, at least as far back as July 2011. They were told then he wasn't available, and eventually acquired Doug Fister in a trade with the Mariners.
A deal for Shields would have made the Tigers into overwhelming favorites in the American League Central. They may be that, anyway, although the Royals now believe they can contend, too.
Garcia is a 21-year-old outfielder who debuted with the Tigers in September, and became their regular right fielder against left-handed pitching. Garcia even started six of the Tigers' 13 postseason games.
The Tigers' chances at Shields were hurt because their top prospect, Nick Castellanos, is a third baseman, and the Rays are locked in at third with Evan Longoria. The Tigers' prospect inventory has thinned out because of trades over the last couple of years, and also because they surrendered their first-round draft pick the last two years, as compensation for signing Victor Martinez and Prince Fielder.