Several teams have reportedly checked in on James Shields since the conclusion of the Winter Meetings last month, and according to FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal, the free agent right-handed pitcher is expected to receive a contract that is at least five years in length and is worth at least $100 million.
Rosenthal also notes that several executives told him Shields has received a five-year, $110 million offer but is seeking a higher guarantee. The team that made the offer is unknown. Shields posted a 3.21 ERA with the Royals last season.
Shields and Max Scherzer remain attractive to teams that are seeking starting pitching. Jon Lester set the standard for the starting pitching market after signing a six-year, $155 million contract with the Cubs. Although the 33-year old Shields is coming off of eight consecutive 200-inning seasons and was solid for Kansas City last season, his age may prevent him from receiving such an extensive offer.
Since Shields is requesting such a large deal, both the Marlins and Diamondbacks are no longer interested. Miami is hoping Dan Haren will head to Spring Training in Jupiter despite his West Coast preference, and Arizona is confident with its pitching depth.
Leading up to the December meetings, the Red Sox were the favorite to land Shields. Rosenthal notes the two sides are communicating but it "is not likely" for Boston to sign him. The Giants are in a similar position, and are not focusing on Shields after resigning free agent Jake Peavy. San Diego might consider depth, but appears to be content with its starting rotation.
Considering his contractual demands, a reunion with Kansas City is unlikely. Edinson Volquez, Kris Medlen, Luke Hochevar, and Jason Frasor are expected to serve as members of the Royals' pitching core.