Before signing with the Padres for $75 million James Shields got some late interest from the Cubs, with Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reporting that Chicago jumped into the mix last week once it was clear Shields’ overall market was somewhat underwhelming.
According to Rosenthal–and the New York Post, too–the Cubs offered Shields a three-year, $60 million deal even after inking Jon Lester to a six-year, $155 million deal earlier this offseason.
Shields ultimately decided to play at home in San Diego, choosing the Padres’ four-year, $75 million offer that includes an option for a fifth year. But it’s telling that the Cubs were willing to spend another big chunk of money and suggests they’ll probably be in the market for top-of-the-rotation help again next winter when guys like Jordan Zimmermann, Zack Greinke, David Price, Johnny Cueto, Jeff Samardzija, Doug Fister, and Mat Latos could all be on the market.
Phillies star outfielder Bryce Harper played some third base during Monday’s intrasquad game at Citizens Bank Park, Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports. Harper had been pestering manager Joe Girardi for the opportunity and the skipper finally gave in.
Girardi told Harper, “No diving. And make sure your arm is loose.” Harper had the opportunity to field one ball, a grounder to his left and he made the play perfectly.
Why put Harper at third base? Girardi said, “I think it’s important the guys have fun. I saw him a week ago taking ground balls there and I was impressed. His hands worked well out front and he threw the ball across the field well. I told him, ‘You look good there.'”
Despite the solid showing, don’t expect Harper to show up at third base in a meaningful game anytime soon. That being said, the Phillies’ second and third base situations are still not cemented. Jean Segura will likely open the season at the hot corner with Scott Kingery at second, but things could change between now and Opening Day in 10 days.
Harper, 27, is coming off a solid first season with the Phillies. He hit .260/.372/.510 with 36 doubles, 35 home runs, 114 RBI, 98 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases across 682 plate appearances. Per FanGraphs, Harper’s 4.6 Wins Above Replacement ranked 16th in the National League. For some people, those numbers weren’t nearly good enough, so the expectations remain high as Harper enters year two of his 13-year, $330 million contract.