Diamondbacks, Marlins interested in James Shields

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Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com has the scoop …

So far, we’ve heard very little about the market for free-agent right-hander James Shields.

Well, here is one interested team:

The Arizona Diamondbacks.

Rosenthal says it “may be impossible” for the D’Backs to fit Shields into their current payroll, but they could free up money by trading catcher Miguel Montero or second baseman Aaron Hill. There is a clear need for a front-line starter in Arizona, and new chief baseball officer Tony La Russa is exploring all of his options.

Shields registered a 3.21 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, and 180/44 K/BB ratio across 227 innings (34 starts) this past season for the American League-champion Royals. The 32-year-old declined a one-year, $15.3 million qualifying offer from Kansas City earlier this month, so his free agency is tied to draft pick compensation.

Rosenthal also adds that the Marlins are considering signing Shields:

Max Scherzer: ‘There’s no reason to engage with MLB in any further compensation reductions’

Max Scherzer
Mark Brown/Getty Images
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MLBPA player representative Max Scherzer sent out a short statement late Wednesday night regarding the ongoing negotiations between the owners and the union. On Tuesday, ownership proposed a “sliding scale” salary structure on top of the prorated pay cuts the players already agreed to back in March. The union rejected the proposal, with many worrying that it would drive a wedge in the union’s constituency.

Scherzer is one of eight players on the MLBPA executive subcommittee along with Andrew Miller, Daniel Murphy, Elvis Andrus, Cory Gearrin, Chris Iannetta, James Paxton, and Collin McHugh.

Scherzer’s statement:

After discussing the latest developments with the rest of the players there’s no reason to engage with MLB in any further compensation reductions. We have previously negotiated a pay cut in the version of prorated salaries, and there’s no justification to accept a 2nd pay cut based upon the current information the union has received. I’m glad to hear other players voicing the same viewpoint and believe MLB’s economic strategy would completely change if all documentation were to become public information.

Indeed, aside from the Braves, every other teams’ books are closed, so there has been no way to fact-check any of the owners’ claims. Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts, for example, recently said that 70 percent of the Cubs’ revenues come from “gameday operations” (ticket sales, concessions, etc.). But it went unsubstantiated because the Cubs’ books are closed. The league has only acknowledged some of the union’s many requests for documentation. Without supporting evidence, Ricketts’ claim, like countless others from team executives, can only be taken as an attempt to manipulate public sentiment.

Early Thursday morning, ESPN’s Jeff Passan reported that the MLBPA plans to offer a counter-proposal to MLB in which the union would suggest a season of more than 100 games and fully guaranteed prorated salaries. It seems like the two sides are quite far apart, so it may take longer than expected for them to reach an agreement.