Marlins Rumors: Fish may not be completely out on free agent James Shields


The Miami Marlins have already done significant work to improve their team this winter, and in particular their pitching staff. By adding both Dan Haren and Mat Latos to the starting rotation, along with the acquisition of Jarred Cosart last season, the Marlins rotation is in much better position than in previous seasons.

However, there is still the question mark about whether or not Dan Haren will pitch in Miami, and with the expected absence of Jose Fernandez until midseason (Tommy John surgery), the Marlins still have some question marks in the rotation. Luckily an answer to one of those questions may be presenting itself.

According to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, indications are that the market for free agent starter James Shields may be dipping below $100 million for what is perceived as a five-year deal. That drop in price will open up the market for Shields to quite a few more teams, including the Miami Marlins. According to Rosenthal, the assumption that Miami would interest Shields isn’t that far off.

As Rosenthal notes, Marlins general manager Dan Jennings was with the Tampa Bay Rays when the team drafted Shields and Marlins pitching coach Chuck Hernandez worked with Shields when the right-hander was making his way through the Rays minor league system.

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Adding Shields still remains wishful thinking to a degree, as it would propel the Marlins payroll into an area in which the team may not be comfortable. However, it also makes sense on so many levels.

Shields is an innings-eater of a pitcher who has pitched no less than 227 innings in each of the last four seasons and has compiled 200+ innings in each of the past eight campaigns, trailing only Mark Buehrle among active pitchers in that regard. Additionally, he owns a lifetime ERA of 3.72, an xFIP of 3.61, and a lifetime K/BB ratio of 3.60, all of which while pitching in predominantly hitters parks.

Sticking him into a Marlins rotation, Shields would provide the veteran leadership the staff needs for years to come. It would also allow the team to bank against a possible innings-limit for Fernandez in his first season back from Tommy John surgery, as well as have a fallback option with Latos due to become a free agent after this coming season.

Signing Jame Shields is a win-now move, but it could also pay benefits in the long-term for the team, showing further commitment to the brand than the Jeffery Loria ownership group has previously done in the past.

It just comes down to having the courage to pull the trigger.