NBC Sports reports that the St. Louis Cardinals may be interested in signing former Kansas City Royals and Tampa Bay Rays pitcher James Shields.
About a month ago, Shields' representatives claimed the 33-year-old hurler had an offer on the table for north of $110 million. But it looks like that allegation has been exposed as a bluff. Now it is speculated that he could be had on a four-year deal for $70-$80 million.
While I thought the Redbirds would have been a good fit for St. Louis native Max Scherzer, three years Shields' junior, I'm not really excited about Shields -- even at the lower sticker price.
He's got tons of miles on his arm and Shields doesn't really profile as an ace type pitcher anymore. He's probably a number two or number three starter right now. What's he going to be in two years when he's 35?
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to Belleville News-Democrat
In 2011 Shields allowed only 195 hits in 249 1/3 innings. But he's become increasingly more hittable since then, allowing 224 hits in 227 innings last season. His baseball cards stats remain impressive with 14 wins with a 3.28 ERA in 2014. Be he played for a playoff team in one of the most pitcher-friendly parks in baseball.
Shields did walk only 44 compared to 180 strikeouts. But his swing and miss totals have dropped steadily the last four seasons: 225 to 223 to 196 to 180.
The free agent hurler also isn't much of a post season pitcher, despite his nickname, Big Game James. In the playoffs and World Series he is 3-6 with a 5.46 ERA.
So, maybe if Shields wants to take a one-year pillow deal for $17-$18 million, maybe that would be a good idea for the Cardinals. But I doubt that's going to happen for a couple of reasons.
First, at Shields' age, he'd be unwise to hope to get a better, longer term deal next year. Nobody is going to give a 34-year-old guy a four or five-year pact.
Second, if Shields is that cheap, other teams are going to come out of the woodwork and drive up his price. He could end up with that four-year deal NBC thinks he deserves. And, if I was the St. Louis GM, I'm not a buyer at that price.
This would have to be something similar to the one-year contract Kyle Lohse signed with St. Louis when he found himself standing when the free agent music stopped playing a few years back.
But the Yankees are said to also be interested in Shields and the LA Times ran a column today suggesting that the Dodgers would be a good fit for the pitcher.