Dodgers identify Rays’ James Shields as “No. 1 target”

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According to Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles the Dodgers are looking to add another veteran starting pitcher with Chad Billingsley and Ted Lilly both question marks health-wise, and their “No. 1 target” is Rays right-hander James Shields.

Tampa Bay picked up Shields’ option for 2013, because at $10.25 million it’s a no-brainer, and he’s also under team control for 2014 via $12 million option.

Given their young pitching depth and payroll limitations it wouldn’t be surprising if the Rays are willing to take calls on Shields, but it would be surprising if they’re willing to deal him without getting a ton in return. During the past two seasons Shields has logged 477 innings with a 3.15 ERA and 448/123 K/BB ratio.

Phillies promote Chris Young to pitching coach position

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Chris Young joined the Phillies as their assistant pitching coach last offseason. This offseason he’s getting a promotion: the Phillies just named as their main (um, top? lead? alpha?) pitching coach for the 2019 season. He replaces Rick Kranitz.

Ken Rosenthal, who reported the promotion, says that the Phillies didn’t necessarily want to shake up their pitching coach situation, but that since several clubs wanted to hire Young away, it was either promote him to the top job or lose him. That’s bad news for Kranitz, but he remains under contract for 2019 and will, in the meantime, be allowed to interview elsewhere.

The Phillies pitching staff ranked 11th in runs allowed in the National League in 2018. They were tenth the year before that, but some early season uncertainty and mismanagement by Gabe Kapler and a late season collapse served to hide what was, for most of the season, a bit of a better staff than the year before. The Phillies obviously credit Young for that and want to keep him in the fold.