The Royals are interested in James Shields, but it would cost them

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We mentioned earlier tonight that the Royals have interest in Athletics’ left-hander Gio Gonzalez as they look to upgrade their starting rotation, but Bill Chastain of MLB.com reports that they have also expressed interest in Rays right-hander James Shields. However, the asking price is high. Really high.

According to Chastain, the Rays want closer Joakim Soria, top hitting prospect Wil Myers and infield prospect Christian Colon in return for Shields. Now that would be a haul. Can’t blame Andrew Friedman for aiming high here, but there’s no chance Dayton Moore would even think about accepting that deal.

That being said, the 29-year-old Shields remains a very attractive trade chip, especially as an alternative to an underwhelming field of free agent starting pitchers. The Rays exercised his $7.5 million option in October and hold reasonable options on his services for 2013 ($9 million) and 2014 ($12 million).

Wanna see Yasiel Puig and Dallas Keuchel naked?

Associated Press
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On the one hand, the ESPN Magazine “Body Issue” is a transparent attempt by ESPN to sell magazines via the objectification of the human form in a time of the year when only one major team sport — the one ESPN seems to care about the least, baseball — is active and people are generally not buying a ton of magazines.

On the other hand, unlike “Sports Illustrated’s” swimsuit issue, ESPN objectifies men as well as women, at least making things putatively fair. Oh, and they also, on occasion, put people like Prince Fielder in the thing so as to not exclusively promote unrealistic body standards.

So, on balance: not great and still cynical, but it’s better than its antecedent, and I suppose that’s not nothing.

If you can make your way through the moral and ethical implications of all of this unscathed, feel free to gawk at Yasiel Puig and Dallas Keuchel naked. Here is the link to Puig’s spread, here is the link to Keuchel’s. For what it’s worth, Puig looks like he’s having more fun. Shocker.

A taste, from Puig’s Twitter feed:

Keuchel didn’t tweet out pics of himself in the all together. Like I said: he didn’t seem to have quite as much fun with it.