Jon Lester signed a six-year, $155 million contract with the Cubs in December and Max Scherzer struck a seven-year, $210 million deal Monday with the Nationals, which leaves James Shields as the last remaining front-line starting pitcher on this winter’s free agent market. That can be seen as a good thing for Shields — he’s the best available player at any position and teams are still looking to spend — but it’s also a good indication that no offers have met his asking price. ESPN’s Jayson Stark spoke to multiple executives this week about Shields’ situation …
“What I see now is a lot of teams jumping back in,” said one of the execs. “But part of the reason is, they’re saying, ‘We know now he’s not getting $110 million, so why not jump back in?’ But the problem is, now everyone is bottom-feeding. And when you’re someone like him, that’s the last thing you want, is a lot of teams bottom-feeding on you in late January.”
Bob Nightengale of USA Today reported over the weekend that Shields has been looking for a five-year, $125 million contact but that interested teams are making proposals in the four-year, $80 million range.
Shields, 33, registered a 3.21 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, and 180/44 K/BB ratio across 227 innings (34 starts) last season for the American League-champion Royals. He has topped 215 innings every year since 2007.
The Diamondbacks, Blue Jays, Tigers, and Marlins are among the clubs that have been linked to him.