Aiming to boost their pitching staff, the St. Louis Cardinals are discussing trades with the Tampa Bay Rays and Minnesota Twins for starters James Shields and Francisco Liriano, CBS Sports' Scott Miller reported Saturday. Miller reported that the Cardinals also had tried to sign starter Ben Sheets before he inked a deal with the Atlanta Braves in June.
The Cardinals sit two games behind the Braves for the second National League wild card spot. They are six games behind the Cincinnati Reds in the NL Central and four games behind the second-place Pittsburgh Pirates.
Of the two starters, Liriano might be the easier deal to pull off. One source told CBS' Miller that the Twins are "likely" to trade Liriano, who is 3-10 with a 5.31 ERA in 22 games — 17 starts — this season.
Shields, on the other hand, has the Rays thinking they can get a lucrative package of minor leaguers in return. The Rays are reportedly seeking more than what the Angels traded to the Brewers for Zack Greinke on Friday. The 30-year-old Shields is 8-7 with a 4.52 ERA this season. The Cardinals also might face less competition for Liriano. The Texas Rangers, Braves, Los Angeles Dodgers and Cleveland Indians have all been in talks with Tampa Bay about Shields. CBS' Miller only pegs the Baltimore Orioles as Liriano's other serious suitor.