He’ll start Game One of the World Series for the Royals on Tuesday, but that’s the only additional appearance in their uniform that James Shields is guaranteed to make.
After that, maybe Shields makes another start in the World Series, and maybe the Royals come through on the extension they’re reportedly hoping to nail down. It always seemed unlikely, though, and Andy Martino’s sources tell him it just won’t be happening. According to those big league sources, “[A]lthough the team will make a genuine effort to resign him, it is not hopeful, expecting a rival like the Red Sox to offer four or five years. It is difficult to imagine the Royals matching such an offer.”
The Chicago Cubs are known to be in the market for at least one impact starting pitcher this offseason, and have been explicitly connected to Shields, reportedly as one of their top two preferred options (together with Jon Lester). I would say four or five years is a given for Shields, and if the Royals are definitely out, then it’s one less suitor – albeit one we didn’t originally think had a real shot at retaining him – for the big-time righty.
It is notable that the team you most frequently hear connected to Shields, perhaps mostly in speculation, is the Boston Red Sox. Martino mentions the Red Sox in his piece.