Shields not a fit in Boston?

James Shields is still a free agent and the Red Sox could use a No. 1 starter, but they don’t appear to be a fit at this point. The Sox do not believe the right-hander’s pitching style suits Fenway Park, reports Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald.

Shields gets a lot of fly ball outs, which worked well in spacious Kauffman Stadium last season with the Royals. But Fenway Park is a much smaller venue with the Green Monster just 310 feet from the plate.

Boston added two starters this offseason who get more ground balls than fly balls in Justin Masterson and Rick Porcello. That’s an indication of the kind of pitchers the club values.

Shields has a career groundball percentage of 44.7 percent, compared to 52.1 percent for Porcello and 56.6 percent for Masterson. Shields has a groundball-to-flyball ratio of 0.86, versus 1.12 for Porcello and 1.33 for Masterson. In addition, Shields has allowed an average of 25.2 home runs per year, while Porcello averages 18.5 and Masterson 12.9.

In 13 career starts at Fenway Park, Shields is 2-9 with a 5.42 ERA and 11 home runs allowed.

Of course, with one month until Spring Training, things could change and the Sox could become a player for Shields if his asking price drops. He’s reportedly been seeking a five-year deal worth around $125 million. MLB.com columnist Jim Duquette ranks the Red Sox fourth on Shields’ list of potential suitors.

–Austin Laymance

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