PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. Alex Cobb has heard the buzzwords. They fall from lips like snowflakes, the armchair analysis varying in appearance but each line offering the same cold message.
Tampa Bay Rays pitchers must do more without right-hander James Shields.
Each member of the rotation must pick up more innings.
Each must become a larger clubhouse presence.
Each must embrace a greater leadership role.
Each must evolve to improve.
Cobb is savvy. The right-hander knows what was lost when Shields was sent to the Kansas City Royals in a six-player December deal, a celebrated move that stripped the Rays of an emotional and productive leader.
Shields effect in numbers: A team-high 227.2 innings last season with 15 victories in 33 starts, also a club-high, now gone.
Shields effect in impact: A wily veteran who taught others how to work, be accountable and tackle business at hand all day, each day.
Can Shields loss be measured?
I dont think it can, Cobb told FOXSportsFlorida.com. Pe...