Dodgers @ Cardinals July 26, 2012: Capuano vs Westbrook

And today’s trade rumor of the day is… *spins wheel*James Shields! According to CBS’ Danny Knobler, the Dodgers – along with the Rangers & Angels – have made offers for the 30-year-old Tampa righty, who has a $9m team option for 2013 before reaching free agency.

On the surface, Shields is having a down season, as his 2.82 ERA from last year has jumped to 4.39, though not by quite as much as you’d think. As much as Shields outperformed his ERA last year (3.42 FIP), he’s underperforming it this year, (3.89), and that range seems to be more like his true talent level. His strikeouts are up, though so are his homers, but mostly he’s not seeing a repeat of his very low 2011 BABIP,. Last month, Dave Cameron wrote at FanGraphs that Shields had actually taken a step forward and should be considered among the elite pitchers in baseball.

Of course, we know how this works by now, right? A reporter claims “offer has been made!”, we all work ourselves into a frenzy envisioning both how the player would fit into the roster and how to say goodbye to the multiple prospects going the other way, and then the rumor completely falls apart or turns into something else entirely.

That’s the way the next several days are going to work, though. For now, the Dodgers have a series finale to play in steamy St. Louis, with Chris Capuano on the mound hoping for a split. Hanley Ramirez once again is hitting fifth and at third base, while as expected, Matt Treanor starts in place of A.J. Ellis.

Dodgers
Cardinals
LF
Gwynn
SS
Furcal
2B
M.Ellis
2B
Descalso
CF
Kemp
LF
Holliday
RF
Ethier
RF
Craig
3B
Ramirez
3B
Freese
1B
Rivera
1B
Carpenter
SS
Cruz
C
Cruz
C
Treanor
CF
Jay
P
Capuano
P
Westbrook
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