With James Shields’ free agency carrying on longer than expected, there’s a belief he may no longer sign a $100 million contract, which he reportedly had been in search of.
On Tuesday it was reported Shields had multiple offers and was nearing a decision, with one expected to come by week’s end. Despite his ties to California, the Los Angeles Dodgers are not believed to be in the race for Shields as their attention is on Yoan Moncada and Hector Olivera.
However, the 2015 season may come with Shields pitching in the National League West, as ESPN’s Buster Olney reports the San Diego Padres are viewed as his eventual landing spot:
There is a growing sense among some of the folks involved in James Shields conversations that he will probably land with the Padres.
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) February 6, 2015
Adding Shields to their rotation would essentially complete the Paders’ offseason overhaul, which began with trading for Matt Kemp. As part of the deal, the Dodgers agreed to pay $18 million of Kemp’s salary in 2015 in a decision that may now be affording San Diego to pursue Shields.
One day after acquiring Kemp, the Padres completed a blockbuster three-team trade with the Tampa Bay Rays and Washington Nationals that netted them Wil Myers, catcher Ryan Hanigan, and Minor-League relievers Jose Castillo and Gerardo Reyes. That same day, the Padres also traded for Justin Upton.
Although entering his age-33 season, Shields has been nothing short of consistent as he’s won double-digit games, pitched more than 200 innings and started at least 31 games since 2007 — his second season in the Majors.
With Andrew Cashner and Tyson Ross leading the Padres’ rotation, Shields would give them a three-headed monster that coupled with the revamped offense, could have San Diego in contention for their first NL West title since 2006 when they won a tie-breaker over the Dodgers.
The Padres’ last outright NL West title came in 2005. Baseball Prospectus predicted a third-consecutive NL West title for the Dodgers in 2015, with the Padres winning 83 games and finishing third in the division.