Shields reportedly in line for nine-figure deal
Though the James Shields sweepstakes is yet to really heat up this winter, the free agent right-hander is expected to land a contract north of $100 million, according to FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal. Rosenthal actually adds that two Major League executives say that Shields already has a five-year, $110 million offer in hand from an unknown team.
The Red Sox, Giants, Marlins and Diamondbacks are all among the teams that have shown interest in Shields at various times this offseason, though no club has been linked to anything concrete regarding the veteran righty. In fact, Rosenthal goes on to say that the Marlins and D-backs have both backed off in their pursuit of Shields recently, while the Red Sox and Giants are also longshots when it comes to making a play for Shields.
As for other potential landing spots, Rosenthal mentions the Yankees, Tigers and Angels as three teams looking to upgrade their rotation — but adds that none of those three clubs have been linked to Shields thus far.
Another thing working against Shields’ market is the fact that he rejected a qualifying offer from the Royals earlier this offseason, meaning a potential suitor would need to surrender a draft pick in order to sign him. The $100 million price tag, combined with the need to forfeit a draft pick, seems to be a steep price for any team to pay for a 33-year-old pitcher that has logged 1,910 innings over his nine-year career — including 200-plus frames in eight straight seasons.
Despite coming off a rocky postseason with the Royals, Shields could still give any club a durable option at the top of its rotation. Along with his eight straight seasons of working at least 200 innings, Shields went 14-8 with a 3.21 ERA this past season in helping the Royals reach the postseason for the first time since 1985.
— Paul Casella