Market for James Shields thinning?

The Red Sox reportedly have not had much recent discussion with free agent starting pitcher James Shields, according to ESPN and Sirius XM’s Jim Bowden, leaving the remaining market for the sought-after right-hander largely unknown.

After the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo reported in late December that the Giants and Red Sox were still “in the picture” for the right-hander, Bowden has reported this week that the Giants are out on the him and the Red Sox now do not seem to be significant players in the sweepstakes.

Bowden tweeted Saturday night that the “Red Sox met with James Shields at the Winter Meetings but haven’t had substantive talks with him or his agent.”

Shields, 33, had a 3.21 ERA in 34 starts (227 innings) last year for Kansas City, helping the Royals to the playoffs.

— Joey Nowak

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