James Shields posted a fantastic 2.82 ERA in 33 starts this season, striking out 225 batters and issuing only 65 walks across 249 1/3 innings.
There’s been some thought that the Rays might try to capitalize on that breakout 2011 campaign by shopping the 29-year-old right-hander this winter. He’s owed a $7.5 million salary in 2012 and Tampa Bay has talented young arms on the way.
But it doesn’t sound like a trade will happen.
According to CBS Sports’ Danny Knobler, the Rays’ front office is “dead-set against” moving Shields this offseason. And the same goes for youngster Jeremy Hellickson, who had a 2.64 ERA in the second half.
The market for available starting pitchers remains bleak beyond lefty C.J. Wilson. And maybe Yu Darvish.
Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that there is a “one million percent” chance Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman will opt out once the season ends.
Just going by the math this makes perfect sense, of course.
Chapman signed a five-year, $86 million deal with the Yankees before the 2017 season. Pursuant to the terms of the deal he’ll make $15 million a year in 2020 and 2021 (he was given an $11 million signing bonus that was finished being paid out last year). This past season the qualifying offer was $17.9 million. Craig Kimbrel of the Cubs just signed a deal that will pay him $16 million in 2020, 2021, and 2022 (he’s making a prorated $16 million this year). Other top closer salaries at the moment include Kenley Jansen ($19,333,334); and Wade Davis ($18 million).
It’s fair to say that Chapman fits into that group and, I think it’s safe to say, more teams would take him than those guys if they were all freely available. As such, Chapman opting out to get more money makes all kinds of sense. Heck, opting out, getting slapped with a qualifying offer, accepting it and then hitting the market unencumbered after the 2020 season would stand him in better financial stead than if he didn’t opt-out in the first place.
The question is whether the Yankees will let it get that far or whether they’ll approach him to renegotiate the final couple of years on the deal or to add some years onto the back of it. If they’re smart they will.