Royals make $15.3 million qualifying offer to James Shields

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As expected the Royals have made a $15.3 million qualifying offer to free agent James Shields, who has until next Monday to accept or decline.

He’ll turn it down, because the 32-year-old right-hander will have no trouble securing a huge long-term deal on the open market, but by making the qualifying offer the Royals guaranteed themselves draft pick compensation if he signs elsewhere.

Shields was acquired from the Rays along with Wade Davis in December of 2012 and had two nearly identical, fantastic seasons for the Royals, tossing 229 innings with a 3.15 ERA in 2013 and 227 innings with a 3.21 ERA in 2014.

He’s struggled in the playoffs, posting a 5.46 ERA in 11 starts that goes against his “Big Game James” nickname, but Shields figures to have plenty of $100 million-plus offers.