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Angels, Tigers eye James Shields, a trade candidate; Rays seek young pitching/catcher

Rays veteran right-hander James Shields looks like a prime trade candidate and at least the Tigers and Angels are said to have interest.

There have been reports that the Rays might consider dealing any of their five viable right-handed starters. But Shields looks like the most logical candidate due to his $9-million option for 2013.

The Rays have at least seven starters once Jeff Niemann returns, so they are dealing from strength again. The Rays would seek a young catcher and/or young pitcher.

Shields, a former ace with the Rays, could attract several teams as an alternative to top pitchers Cole Hamels and Zack Greinke, who aren't guaranteed to be traded (especially Hamels, who's said to be making some progress on a deal with the Phillies).

The Angels want to strengthen their rotation considering Dan Haren's back concern and Ervin Santana's continuing struggles. The Tigers' priority right now appears to be second base, though they are always a threat to do multiple things.

There appears to be "nothing to'' the report of a multiplayer trade with the Angels that was supposed to send Shields and Ben Zobrist to the Angels for Howie Kendrick and a package of younger players, at least for now.

Shields, 8-6 with a 4.39 ERA, looked strong in a 4-3 win over the Mariners on Friday night, striking out 10. That followed four straight games in which Shields had allowed at least 10 runs.

The real issue for the Rays is Shields' $9 million option, which seems reasonable for most but might be rich for the Rays.

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