Reports: Cubs made late push for Shields
James Shields’ free agency saga finally came to an end over the weekend, when the veteran right-hander agreed to a four-year deal with the Padres, who will pay him about $75 million.
But who else was involved with Shields at the end? Joel Sherman of the New York Post reported Monday that the Cubs and Marlins fell into that category, with Chicago offering of about $60 million over three years.
After signing lefty Jon Lester to a six-year, $155 million pact in December, the Cubs are “reluctant” to make such a significant commitment to a free-agent starter again next offseason, according to FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal. So while Shields’ initial asking price, reported to be more than $100 million, was out of the team’s range, it became interested when that cost fell. The Cubs jumped into the bidding about a week ago, a source told Rosenthal, with a three-year deal that would have expired by the time the club’s current crop of young talent begins to grow expensive.
The question now is whether the late of pursuit of Shields provides any insight into Theo Epstein and company’s future plans. The 2016 free-agent pitching market currently is slated to include stars such as Johnny Cueto, David Price and Jordan Zimmermann, as well as Zack Greinke, if he opts out of his current deal. It’s obviously much too early to assume the Cubs won’t go after any of those players, if available. But as Rosenthal suggests, they might be more likely to chase less expensive options or trade for a talented young arm from their surplus of bats.
— Andrew Simon