ESPN’s Jim Bowden Believes Marlins will Land Scherzer or Shields
By Ehsan Kassim
The longer Max Scherzer and James Shields stay on the market, more teams will be connected to the two ace level pitchers. The markets for both teams have been kept pretty close to the agents hands, so we truly don’t know at this point which teams are truly in and which teams are out.
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The Miami Marlins have been a team mentioned in the Shields market, but have all but been ruled out of the Scherzer sweepstakes. Both pitchers are expected to command a salary that will be well out of the Marlins budget, especially with the team planning on a $65 million payroll for the 2015 season.
This, however, does not stop ESPN Insider’s Jim Bowden (insider required) from speculating the Marlins as a landing spot for either Scherzer or Shields.
"Miami MarlinsI really believe the Marlins could end up with either Scherzer or James Shields. Stop laughing. The baseball community realizes this team is ready to get back to the postseason, and one of those starters would push them over the top. Although I think it’s more likely they land Shields, I wouldn’t be surprised if owner Jeffrey Loria woke up this morning and said to himself: “I’m going to change my personal and team image completely with one move and go for it.” Loria did a good job backloading Giancarlo Stanton‘s contract, and could use the same philosophy with earlier out-clauses for Scherzer."
With the off-season the Marlins have had, it’s very realistic to see them as a post-season contender in 2015. However, they likely fall into somewhere between the 82 wins Fangraphs Depth Charts projects and a mid-80’s win team. They likely need to be in the higher 80’s or low 90’s to be a legitimate playoff contender.
Signing either Scherzer or Shields would certainly push the Marlins to that next level. That’s why what Bowden says makes sense on the surface.
As his agent Scott Boras has pointed out, the decision of signing someone like Scherzer does not come from the front office, rather from the owner, so it’s not crazy to rule out Loria waking up one morning and deciding he really wants to go for it all.
The Marlins have been having extension talks with two of Boras’ clients, in Jose Fernandez and Marcell Ozuna. That means they already have the ear and the attention of the super agent, so something that seems like nothing could pop out of nowhere with the two sides already negotiating.
However, in reality, I highly doubt Loria is going to go all in for the 2015 season, much like he did in 2012, risking the chance to see another mediocre team sitting with a high payroll in future seasons.
While I don’t view Scherzer as a realistic option at all for the Marlins, the fact they are still being mentioned so much with Shields makes me think there is more fire to the smoke than we have been led to believe. The team has yet to come out and say whether they’d like to add the righty or not.
Over the next couple of weeks, I’d keep my eye on the Shields market and see what it holds. The Marlins have not been ruled out of yet, and with the market still seeming slow for his services, you never know what can happen.
Scherzer, however, just seems like a pie-in-the-sky type of scenario.