Arizona Diamondbacks GM Dave Stewart announced on Thursday to reporters that the team is no longer pursuing free agent James Shields according to Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic.
There hasn’t been much news on the Shields’ front, no front runners have been revealed, but one thing is for sure, he won’t be pitching in a Diamondbacks’ uniform. This announcement comes about week after Stewart said the team was still in the running to sign the right hander.
Oct 5, 2014; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Royals starting pitcher James Shields (33) reacts against the Los Angeles Angels after the final out of the top of the sixth inning in game three of the 2014 ALDS baseball playoff game at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports
According to Stewart, the market for Shields changed once Max Scherzer signed his $210 million deal with the Washington Nationals. With that signing, it’s likely that Shield’s price went up and out of Arizona’s range.
Stewart told reporters, “The market has changed. We knew it would once Scherzer came out.”
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The announcement isn’t a surprising one. Stewart has always said that he wanted to keep the Diamondbacks’ payroll at $90 million. Right now, they are sitting at $91 million. It was nice to hear that the team was in talks with the top pitching free agent, but it was never really a legitimate expectation for the current direction of the team.
Stewart mixed up the rotation this off season, and the team’s prospects are nearing their MLB debut, so, Arizona has plenty of in house (cheaper) options for the rotation.
At the end of the 2015 season, Arizona will have some of it’s bigger contracts cleared and the deal reportedly worth $90 million with FOX Sports should kick in. So, if the Diamondbacks are going to be active in the big name free agent market, the 2016 off season is much more likely.