Angels, Rays discussing trade involving James Shields

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Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reported over the weekend that the Angels had serious interest in acquiring starter James Shields from the Rays.

And now it appears Anaheim is getting serious.

From ESPN’s Tim Kurkjian comes word that the Halos and Rays have discussed a trade that would send Shields out west in exchange for center fielder Peter Bourjos and catcher Hank Conger. But the “deal is complicated,” according to Kurkjian’s source, because money would also have to be involved and struggling right-hander Ervin Santana might somehow be worked into the mix.

Shields, 30, has posted an ugly 4.39 ERA in 131 1/3 innings this season despite a sparkling 124/39 K/BB ratio. His contract carries a $9 million club option for 2013 and a $12 million club option for 2014.

Bourjos, 25, is an elite defender who has been made expendable by the rise of Mike Trout. Conger is a 24-year-old former first-round pick who boasts a .298/.360/.463 career batting line in the minor leagues.

Report: Padres interested in Maikel Franco

Philadelphia Phillies v Washington Nationals
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The Padres may have some interest in acquiring Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco, according to a recent report from Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. It seems unlikely that the team would deal their starting third baseman with J.P. Crawford (fractured left hand) sidelined through July; to that end, however, they signed infielder Danny Espinosa as minor league depth on Friday and have reportedly been eying the Rangers’ Adrian Beltre, among other veteran options.

Franco, 25, entered Sunday batting .255/.297/.425 with nine home runs and a .721 OPS in 229 plate appearances this season. While he has yet to live up to the .280+ average, 1.9+ fWAR he posted during his rookie campaign, he’s been a solid 20+ home run producer over the last few years and shown some stability at the hot corner. He’s also under team control for the next three years and could provide some much-needed insurance behind the Padres’ current third base option, 27-year-old Christian Villanueva.

Rosenthal notes that the Phillies could strike a deal for one of San Diego’s relievers, though no one specific has been connected to the team yet — and the club probably wouldn’t be able to finesse a one-for-one deal given the quality of the Padres’ pitchers. The Phillies’ bullpen has looked downright abysmal over the last month, placing 11th-worst in the league with a collective 5.34 ERA and 0.3 fWAR. Their failure to procure a viable reliever beyond Seranthony Dominguez, Victor Arano and Edubray Ramos lends a certain urgency to any potential deal they make over the next few weeks, though the official trade deadline is still over a month away.