The ball is in James Shields court. According to Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune Shields’ descion on whether or not he’ll be a Padre will come out in the next 24 hours.
It has been an interesting courtship the Padres have had with Shields. At the start of the offseason the Friars weren’t thought to be involved with Shields, and that was probably correct. The team’s biggest need was offense, but now that A.J. Preller has worked his magic Bud Black now has the opportunity to field a competitive lineup every day. I doubt Preller expected to see Shields still without a home after he completed his makeover of the Padre roster, but he’s still out there without much of a market to speak of.
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So it appears Preller said why not take a shot at landing Big Game James? While the Padres do have a very good rotation it lacks the presence of someone whose pitched in the “Big Game”. Shields has made 11 postseason starts including 3 in the World Series, the rest of the Padres rotation as well as the candidates for the back end spots have 2 postseason starts combined and they both belong to Ian Kennedy. Shields would immediately become a leader whose been through everything before.
But what will it take to land Shields? At the start of the off-season he appeared to be destined for at least 5 years and $100 million, but now that it’s February most of his leverage is now gone. He might still demand an AAV of around $20 million, but the years could less. If the Padres could get on on a 4 or even 3 year deal it would take a considerable amount of risk out of signing a 33 year old pitcher.
Now all that’s left is to wait. By the time the weekend ends we’ll all know if James Shields will be the one taking the mound for the Padres on Opening Day. Preller and the Padres have gone as far as their willing to go and it’s all on Shields now.
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