Matt Borelli (@DodgersIn2015)
Unless his asking price drastically drops, I don’t believe the Dodgers should sign James Shields. Yes, he prefers pitching on the West Coast and has an obvious connection to Andrew Friedman from their Tampa Bay days, but an older pitcher approaching his mid-30’s who has logged over 900 innings in the last four seasons is an obvious red flag.
Historically, older pitchers that consistently pitch 200+ innings per season tend to break down more often (see: Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Johan Santana). While Shields would definitely make the rotation better, the risk is just not worth it, not to mention the Dodgers would have to forfeit a first round draft pick.
The stats are there, but how much longer can he produce at a near-elite level without the inevitable decline or injury? If the Dodgers want another starting pitcher, there is plenty of depth available, with the likes of Alexi Ogando and Brandon Beachy still on the market.
Matthew Moreno (@MMoreno1015)
It isn’t likely, but if Shields was willing to accept a three-year deal with perhaps somewhat of an inflated annual salary and a vesting option of sorts for a fourth year, then I think that’s something the Dodgers should seriously consider.
The shorter-term contract would help guard against potential injury as Shields advances in age and slightly overpaying annually may be common ground for the two parties. Adding Shields would bolster the Dodgers’ rotation and serve as a nice answer to the Nationals signing of Scherzer.
That being said, whether or not the Nationals keep all six of their starting pitchers isn’t necessarily a given. Another factor to keep in mind are the injuries Zack Greinke, Clayton Kershaw and Hyun-Jin Ryu suffered last season. Having Shields would help offset potentially losing one of them for a period of time.
Shields would also be insurance in the event Greinke opts out after 2015 and signs elsewwere. However, there’s also the issue that the Dodgers would lose their first-round pick in the 2015 draft by signing Shields. Talented as Shields is, losing the pick may not necessarily be worth the signing.
Jeff Spiegel (@JeffSpiegel)
My vote is no. I think the Dodgers have five quality starters right now, plus flex arms in Mike Bolsinger, Zach Lee and Juan Nicasio. The Dodgers could obviously use another top-flight starter (who couldn’t?), but I don’t think overpaying Shields is worth it.
As the Dodgers are dreading massive contracts to Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier and Carl Crawford, the last thing they need is another long-term, big money contract to Shields.