Report: Rays “dead-set” on keeping James Shields

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James Shields posted a fantastic 2.82 ERA in 33 starts this season, striking out 225 batters and issuing only 65 walks across 249 1/3 innings.

There’s been some thought that the Rays might try to capitalize on that breakout 2011 campaign by shopping the 29-year-old right-hander this winter. He’s owed a $7.5 million salary in 2012 and Tampa Bay has talented young arms on the way.

But it doesn’t sound like a trade will happen.

According to CBS Sports’ Danny Knobler, the Rays’ front office is “dead-set against” moving Shields this offseason. And the same goes for youngster Jeremy Hellickson, who had a 2.64 ERA in the second half.

The market for available starting pitchers remains bleak beyond lefty C.J. Wilson. And maybe Yu Darvish.

Report: Brewers have made formal contract offer to Yu Darvish

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Yahoo Japan reported on Sunday (Monday there) that the Brewers have made a formal contract offer to free agent pitcher Yu Darvish. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic has confirmed Yahoo Japan’s report. The length of the offered contract and the value are not known at the moment.

Darvish recently said on his personal Twitter account that the Rangers, Yankees, Cubs, Astros, Twins, and “one more team” have been in the running for his services. The unnamed team was believed to be the Dodgers, but it may well be the Brewers.

The Brewers could certainly use Darvish’s arm. Chase Anderson and Zach Davies currently lead the starting rotation and the club added Jhoulys Chacin and Yovani Gallardo this offseason.

Darvish, 31, posted a 3.86 ERA with a 209/58 K/BB ratio in 186 2/3 innings between the Rangers and Dodgers in the regular season last year. He faltered in the playoffs, specifically in the World Series, where he gave up nine runs in 3 1/3 innings across two starts. Darvish was apparently tipping his pitches, however, which is a correctable issue.