James Shields Rumors: Marlins remain on periphery regarding Shields
By Ehsan Kassim
James Shields is probably not having a fun off-season, so far. As one of the top pitchers on the market coming into the 0ff-season, he probably thought he’d get a huge contract some time during the Winter Meetings and would spend the better part of January preparing for Spring Training.
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Instead, today on January 18th, both he and Max Scherzer remain without a contract. Our Miami Marlins have been long rumored to be interested in Shields. They have also been reported to have a “zero” percent chance to sign Shields.
In his Sunday Baseball column notes, the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo writes that the Marlins may still be in on Shields, waiting for his price to drop.
"The Giants, Red Sox, Marlins, Diamondbacks, Rangers, Blue Jays, and Yankees remain on the periphery regarding Shields. They’re waiting for the price to drop, according to our GMs."
Cafardo makes a great point, with most teams already at their nearing their budget as Spring Training crawls closer, Shields and Scherzer are now at the mercy of the market. Unless some team swoops in and overpays, both aces could see a significant drop in their asking price, especially for the 33-year old Shields.
In fact, according to Ken Rosenthal, the price drop may have already began for James Shields.
"Two weeks ago, a number of executives told FOX Sports they expected Shields to land a contract of at least five years, $100 million. Two execs said it was their understanding that Shields had a five-year, $110 million offer.Shields, 33, either never received such a proposal or did not want to sign with the team that offered it. Some execs now believe he is headed for a four-year deal, perhaps in the $70 million-$80 million range."
In two weeks, Shields may have seen his market shrink up from about 1 year for up to $30-40 million. Taking away that extra fifth year would be a major boost for any team that signs Shields, as it removes one more season of risk for an aging pitcher,
If the market for Shields currently sits at 4-years at even $80 million, this is a price the Marlins should have significant interest in James Shields at.
There is plenty of uncertainty surrounding the Marlins rotation at this time. Mat Latos, acquired from the Reds this off-season, is coming off an injury plagued season that saw his fastball velocity dip two miles per hour. Jose Fernandez will be back in June or July from his Tommy John surgery and we are not sure how he’ll pitch right away.
Most of the off-season has been spent talking about the Dan Haren saga, which still does not have a definitive outcome, yet.
In order to become a contending team the the Marlins wish to be, they still need one more starting pitcher, in my opinion. No matter the price drop of Scherzer, the Marlins will not likely be able to afford the flame throwing right hander.
Shields, they can, especially if he goes for the reduced price Rosenthal mentions.
For a better part of the off-season, I’ve argued the Marlins should stray from Shields if he were to get the contract many thought of before the off-season. But if his price range has dropped this much, the Marlins need to take advantage and get this team to the next level.