Reports: San Diego Padres new favorites to sign James Shields

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The James Shields roller coaster might finally be coming to a stop.

Per multiple reports, Shields is expected to make a decision “soon.” The San Diego Padres “badly” want Shields and are the favorites to sign him and finally put all the speculation to rest.

While it’s unclear which teams are still bidding, the New York Yankees, Chicago Cubs, Arizona Diamondbacks and Boston Red Sox among others have been previously linked to the Shields sweepstakes. The Marlins also were rumored all offseason to be in on Shields, but we’ve read ad nauseam that Shields signing with Miami is a long shot.

Realistically, the Marlins were probably never going to sign Shields. But it was fun to think about the possibility of the Marlins inking one of the elite pitchers in baseball, and easily the best starting pitcher left on the market.

Then, every time we thought the Marlins were completely out of the Shields sweepstakes, a report would surface that they were kicking the tires. And then, someone would chime in and say there was “zero chance” that the Marlins acquire Shields. At the very least I suppose the never-ending James Shields rumors made this one of the most interesting offseasons in Marlins history, especially after the flurry of trades and signings the team already made to improve.

If money is the reason this saga has been dragged out so long — which, let’s face it, it is –then it’s looking like Shields is going to get paid.

If the Padres indeed sign Shields, they would be instantly catapulted into contender status. They might have already been a playoff team after almost completely reshaping what had been one of the worst offenses in baseball last year. This offseason, the Padres added Matt Kemp, Justin Upton, Wil Myers, Derek Norris and Will Middlebrooks. They also acquired Shawn Kelley and Brandon Maurer to solidify the bullpen.

Shields would join a rotation featuring the likes of Andrew Cashner, Ian Kennedy and Tyson Ross. All three featured ERA’s in the 3-or lower range last season.

More from Marlins Rumors

The Marlins — or Jeffrey Loria, specifically — like the way their rotation looks this year. Even with Jose Fernandez out until mid-season, the team added Mat Latos to log innings behind Henderson Alvarez along with Jarred Cosart who was a nice surprise in 10 starts for Miami in 2014. Tom Koehler and perhaps Dan Haren or Brad Hand will round out the staff for at least the beginning of the 2015 season.

Loria has said he likes his guys and is optimistic about the team. The Marlins still only project to win 81 games or so, which wouldn’t be enough to make the postseason. We discussed earlier this week how the decision to sign James Shields was solely in Loria’s hands at this point, and it became obvious that wasn’t going to happen after Loria spoke about his confidence in his team.

MLB Trade Rumors notes that Shields is expected to decide before the end of the weekend. So we should finally know very soon where James Shields will pitch in 2015.

Sorry, Marlins fans, it probably won’t be Miami.

Next: 2015 ZiPS Projections: Jarrod Saltalamacchia

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