Padres News: Market For James Shields Still Up In The Air


Heading into the winter, it was safely assumed that the big three free agent pitchers: Jon Lester, Max Scherzer, and James Shields, were expected to be heavily pursued by dozens of teams, and eventually agreeing to sign a long-term, mega-dollar deal. Here we are in the last week of January, and two of the three are now signed, while the last one, well, hasn’t quite gotten the attention many think he deserves.

San Diego native James Shields remains the last big name starting pitching available. But why is he still on the market? Jon Heyman of CBS Sports opines that Shields, who reportedly had a five-year, $110 million dollar deal on the table from an unknown team, has thrown 9,000 more pitches than his free agent contemporary, Max Scherzer. Mad Max signed a seven-year, $210 million dollar deal last week with the Washington Nationals. 

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The San Diego Padres, who are looking for a final piece to a playoff-caliber rotation, are said to be interested, but not to the point of even engaging in contract discussions at this point. Ken Rosenthals terms the Padres on the “…periphery”, but that could mean simply, sure they have some interest, but that’s as far as it goes.

The big stories of the off-season for the Padres, have been GM A.J. Preller’s roster overhaul, producing a new everyday lineup, while emptying most of the farm system. Once the offensive pieces were put into place, the focus has shifted to rumors surrounding Cole Hamels of the Philadelphia Phillies and of course, Shields. Heyman believes the pursuit of Hamels remains stronger than it does for Shields–whose teams faced off during the 2008 World Series.

There are several other teams that could jump in on Shields, but it seems most likely he is still looking for at least a five-year deal, north of $100 million dollars, which removes many teams in need of starting pitcher. With the mileage on his arm, and his reputation for being “Big Game James” quickly evaporating with his postseason ERA north of 5, the reality for James Shields, is that he is going to have to settle for somewhere in the neighborhood of three-years, and $70 million dollars.

Had Shields hit the open market say, five years ago, he’s getting what he thinks he’s worth today. He’s not a true ace, but better suited as a low-end number two, or a very talented high-end number three. For the Padres, losing the money AND the draft pick through compensation, just isn’t worth it, when they have three solid starting options at the front of the rotation, and need to use their number 13 overall selection in June to find a farm replacement for the recently dealt Trea Turner…who the Padres just happened to select with the number 13 overall draft selection in 2014.

Next: Padres Need Cole Hamels NOW

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