Shields expected to sign by the end of the week
James Shields’ free agency has dragged along into February, and appears to finally be entering the final stages.
Rumors about Shields were swirling around all day Tuesday, and now Shields is reported to have multiple offers in his hand and will accept one by the end of the week, according to Jon Morosi of Fox Sports.
Shields was initially expected to command a contract of at least five years, $100 million but his price tag appears to have dropped. He is now expected to sign a four-year deal in the $70 to $80 million range, reigniting some teams’ interest for the biggest prize remaining on the market.
And one of the usual aggressive bidders appears no longer content with remaining dormant. A rival general manager told Morosi that he believes the Yankees are now actively pursuing Shields.
The Yankees have been reluctant all offseason to join in on the bidding on any of the top of the line free agents, not wanting to accept anymore large contracts. They did not make an offer to Jon Lester or Max Scherzer and were thought to be out on Shields as well.
The Yankees are counting on starters such as CC Sabathia, Mashario Tanaka, Michael Pineda and Ivan Nova, each of whom spent a significant amount of time on the disabled list last season. Shields, meanwhile, has made 31 or more starts in eight straight seasons.
Morosi also wrote on Twitter that multiple execs have mentioned the Padres as a team they believe has had recent talks with Shields’ agent, Page Odle.
Earlier in the day, the Cardinals were reported as one of the teams “showing interest” in Shields, citing that his new price tag may be too good to pass up.