Padres “have to be considered favorites” to sign James Shields

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The market for James Shields remains largely a mystery, but Bob Nightingale of USA Today reports that the Padres “have to be considered favorites” to sign the free agent right-hander.

Shields is from California and currently lives in San Diego, and obviously the Padres have shown all offseason that they’re pushing to contend immediately and aren’t afraid of making big moves in an effort to do so.

Other teams being linked to Shields in various reports include the Marlins, Cubs, and Blue Jays. At the beginning of the offseason many people assumed that Shields would top $100 million, but no free agent in baseball history has ever gotten a deal larger than $50 million when signing after February 1. It seems likely that he’ll be the first to crack that mark, but a nine-figure deal may be out of the question at this stage.