Report: Marlins Remain in Talks with James Shields

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Hopefully this is the last article I write about James Shields as a free agent. As we learned yesterday, Shields will make his decision by the end of this week, according to Fox Sports Jon Morosi.

"James Shields’ free-agent saga is about to end.Shields has multiple offers in hand and is expected to sign before the end of this week, major-league sources told FOX Sports.It’s not known which teams have offered Shields a contract, but rival team executives said Tuesday they believe the San Diego Padres and New York Yankees have been in recent contact with Shields’ agent, Page Odle."

Over the past couple of days, we’ve heard the San Diego Padres, New York Yankees, and St. Louis Cardinals linked to James Shields. The Padres and Yanks’ interest were squashed pretty quickly on Twitter this morning, but without knowing which teams are in the market, it’s hard to rule anyone out.

One of the teams that we now know that is talking to James Shields? The Miami Marlins, this according to Joe Frisaro.

The Marlins adding Shields has been a hot discussion on Marlin Maniac over the month, with much of the site advocating a signing of the former Ray. Some have been against the idea.

We also learned recently that the decision to sign Shields or not lies solely in the hands of owner Jeffrey Loria.

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With the team being linked to the right hander for most of the season, it makes sense for the ball club to maintain interest as Shields continues to see his asking price drop significantly from the rumored 5-year $110 million deal he supposedly had on the table at the end of 2014.

Buster Olney of ESPN.com (Insider required) mentioned that the Shields market is quickly drying up and the right hander might be best off taking a 3-year deal, if one were presented to him.

"Rival agents are now saying that if Shields has a good three-year offer, perhaps with some kind of vesting option for a fourth year, that would be something that should be seriously considered."

As Michael Jong points out on Fishstripes, signing James Shields to a 3-year deal would be a smart move for the Marlins, as it removes some of the risk of the aging the team would have had to deal with in a 4 or 5-year deal, and could push the team to legitimate playoff contender status in 2015.

"For Miami, they have to weigh the disadvantage of a two- or three-year commitment to Shields and the loss of a draft pick over jumping other teams to the punch to get the best player left available. Jeffrey Loria likes the team as is, but the Marlins have a potential opportunity to snag a potential difference-maker for a borderline team at a better price than initially expected. The club has been smart about staggering its financial commitments around Stanton, but ultimately the team has a short window for contention. Stanton is only here for six more years for sure, and the Fish are likely to get more expensive as arbitration payouts for guys like Jose Fernandez, Marcell Ozuna, and Christian Yelich build up. The Marlins need to make a certain amount of win-now moves, and signing a difference-maker for two seasons like Shields is that type of move."

Like I’ve mentioned before, the Marlins have already gone 90% for the 2015 season, signing James Shields would close out the offseason with the team being 100% in for the season. With the trades the team has made this offseason, they are still a starting pitcher short of contending, in my opinion.

Lets hope Loria opens up his wallet and gets James Shields signed to a three-year deal by the end of the week.

Next: What Does ZiPS Project for Hech in 2015?

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