The Los Angeles Angels aren't just looking to bolster their starting rotation, but it appears that the Angels are looking to add a bit of punch to their lineup. According to ESPN's Jim Bowden, the Angels have started a conversation with the Tampa Bay Rays about acquiring both James Shields and Ben Zobrist.
Rumors swirling around Angels stadium of a Richards, Hellweg,Kendrick +package deal for Shields&Zobrist...conversation only at this point— JIM BOWDEN (@JimBowdenESPNxm) July 21, 2012
Though Shields is having a bit of a down year with a 4.39 ERA, his FIP is a much healthier 3.89, and his xFIP is 3.42. Shields' BABIP has also been a bit high, at .337, so he's due to run into better luck on balls in play.
While Shields would bolster Los Angeles' rotation slightly, Ben Zobrist would provide a huge lift to Los Angeles' lineup. Zobrist is versatile, and can play nearly every position on the diamond. Despite suffering from a low BABIP this year (.275), Zobrist is hitting .255/.381/.456. Zobrist's walk rate of 16.5% is higher than his strikeout rate of 14.2%.
Personally, I've always believed that Zobrist is one of the most, if not the most, underrated player in baseball. If the Angels can acquire both Shields and Zobrist for a package consisting mainly of Garrett Richards, John Hellweg and Howie Kendrick, it would be a steal for Los Angeles.
We'll see if anything develops, but it's worth keeping an eye on.