With Max Scherzer off the market, teams seeking starting pitching depth could begin to pursue James Shields. Arizona was thought to be one of the teams most notably interested, but according to FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal, Diamondbacks General Manager Dave Stewart said the team is now out on Shields.
Shields, 33, posted a 3.21 ERA and 3.59 FIP in 227.0 innings pitched with the Royals last season. He is a durable option, and as a result, has drawn interest from teams seeking a front of the rotation arm. Rosenthal notes Shields is now expecting a four or five-year deal worth $70 or $80 million, and that he would ideally like to pitch for a Western team.
Arizona was one of the few teams that publicly noted they had interest in Shields, however their current payroll situation may limit the moves it chooses to make. Infielder Aaron Hill signed a $24 million deal, and Cody Ross is still due $9.5 million.
Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic notes that the market changed after Scherzer signed a $210 million deal with the Nationals, but that Shields' agent never told any teams interested the Scherzer deal would affect the contract Shields was seeking.
San Francisco Giants
The Giants added Ryan Vogelsong over the weekend, and as a result, have a notable amount of starting pitching. Vogelsong is San Francisco's sixth starter, with Yusmeiro Petit also adding starting experience and expected to be in the mix for a starting spot.
In addition to signing Vogelsong, the Giants also added Jake Peavy on a multiyear deal, and although they were linked to Jon Lester before he signed with Chicago, too, the club may look to add a top arm next offseason if they allow Tim Hudson and Tim Lincecum to become free agents.
Detroit has most recently been linked to Shields after losing out on Scherzer. The club will receive a draft pick after Scherzer opted to sign with the Nationals, and will likely be seeking a front of the rotation arm next offseason. General Manager Dave Dombrowski told reporters last week he has no interest in adding to his rotation, and as a result, the club may consider resigning David Price in the future before considering Shields.
Miami would make sense for Shields because of the uncertainty surrounding Dan Haren. Haren told the club he would report to spring training, but still would prefer a trade.
General Manager Dan Jennings drafted Shields in Tampa Bay, and the organization could be looking to add a top arm until Jose Fernandez is healthy this summer. Mat Latos will also be a free agent next offseason. Ultimately, Shields might be too expensive for the Marlins.
Boston Red Sox
Boston, according to Rosenthal, does not view Shields as an ace. The club made a six-year, $135 million offer to Lester, but that was reportedly an "exception" because the organization was familiar with him.
General Manager Ben Cherington told reporters he would like to focus on the club's rotation as it is right now.
Milwaukee needs a reliever and potential spot starter, but the club is not looking to add Shields, even after trading Yovani Gallardo.
San Diego Padres
If Shields really wants to pitch on the West Coast, the Padres may make sense. Shields grew up in the San Diego area, however the two sides have not been in contact.
Toronto Blue Jays
The organization has discussed him internally, but the club is also seeking bullpen help and is only expected to spend another $6 or $7 million. Backloading his contract would be possible if Shields lands in Toronto.