In need of an arm at the top of their rotation, the Arizona Diamondbacks are said to be “in the mix” for James Shields, according to Fox Sports senior baseball writer Ken Rosenthal.
For weeks, it was believed by many in the industry that Shields would get a $100 million contract on a multi-year deal, but the talk surrounding him has died down considerably over recent weeks and Rosenthal now believes his market is no longer at that level, meaning that the D-Backs could afford him.
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Shields has been one of the most consistent pitchers in baseball over the last several years. The 33-year-old spent the first seven seasons of his career in Tampa Bay with the Rays before pitching the last two years with the Kansas City Royals, which included a near World Series championship last season.
Last season in Kansas City, the right-hander had a 14-8 record with a 3.21 ERA over 227 innings, earning some MVP votes. Over his nine-year big league career, Shields has a record of 114-90 to go along with a 3.72 ERA and 1.22 WHIP.
It goes without saying that the Diamondbacks could use a starting pitcher of Shields’caliber. As of now, the rotation consists of Josh Collmenter, Jeremy Hellickson, Trevor Cahill and a bunch of mid-rotation guys slugging it out for the final two spots.
That’s not a group that is going to scare any offense. Heck, that wouldn’t scare too many offenses in college. Adding Shields though would instantly make him the No. 1 starter of this rotation and bring at least a little credibility to a unit which was one of the worst in all of baseball in 2014.
The question remains is how much should the D-Backs spend on Shields? Being that he just turned 33 and has thrown 200+ innings for eight straight seasons now, I’d be very weary of giving him big money on a long-term deal because of a possible arm injury.
If I was Dave Stewart, I’d offer Shields a three-year deal at a total of $45 million. That way Shields get the money he wants per year, but the club isn’t saddled with a big money contract over a number of seasons. With not a lot of suitors as of now, Shields may be willing to take that for some financial stability.
Now, it remains to been if the two sides can even come close to that kind of agreement. If they can, this fan will be a happy camper and there will be at least something for D-Backs fans to build on heading into start of spring training.