James Shields Rumors: West Coast Bound?


The best free agent yet to be signed, James Shields, has voiced a preference to play for a team on the West Coast in 2015. He calls San Diego his home in the offseason.

Geographically, that would make the Seattle Mariners, Oakland Athletics, San Francisco Giants, both Los Angeles squads and the San Diego Padres as front-runners.

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  • Shields supposedly has multiple offers in hand, though it’s doubted none are in the $100 million range he was originally seeking before Winter Meetings. Given that it’s already February, there are multiple reasons that suggest he will be “lucky” to sign on the dotted line for $60 million.

    While there is little reason to believe the M’s, A’s or Dodgers are interested in Shields, the other four West Coast clubs could be interested in him.

    The Giants were in on Jon Lester and still want someone to complement Madison Bumgarner at the front of the rotation.

    The Angels were quite thin for starting pitchers last season once Garrett Richards was injured. Shields is an inning eater who would provide plenty of stability for the 2015 season.

    As for the Padres, if Cole Hamels does not work out — and given Shields’ living arrangements — San Diego could be an ideal match.

    With all the work the Padres’ front office has done so far building a club capable of winning the NL West, it would make sense for them to sign Shields rather than trade for Hamels and give up another quality pitcher (Andrew Cashner) in the process.

    San Diego’s GM A.J. Preller brought in Justin Upton, Matt Kemp, Wil Myers, Will Middlebrooks and Derek Norris via trades this offseason to revamp the lineup.

    When it comes to the rotation, Brandon Maurer could factor in, but probably not. He was acquired for Seth Smith five days after Christmas. Maurer was too good out of the bullpen for the Mariners in 2014, so he will likely provide depth there.

    As it stands now, Cashner is the de facto ace. Tyson Ross has the highest ceiling and looks to build on his 13-14 record and 2.81 ERA. Ian Kennedy is also a lock to pitch out of the rotation this year. If the Padres sign Shields, it would make the decision a lot easier to have Brandon Morrow, Josh Johnson, Odrisamer Despaigne and Robbie Erlin compete for the fifth and final spot during Spring Training.

    It’s speculated that Boston, St. Louis and Miami are the non-West Coast teams in on Shields, but no one can be sure with all the clutter and contradictory material on Twitter these days.

    The 33-year old right hander is expected to sign with an MLB club before the weekend. James Shields tied for the league lead in 2014 with 34 games started, topped the 220 IP mark for the fourth consecutive season while posting a 3.21 ERA, a 3.59 FIP and a team leading 14 wins with the Kansas City Royals in 2014.

    Next: Best remaining MLB free agents at every position