There are but two games left in the World Series, which means, at the latest, the offseason arrives Wednesday night. Thereafter, there is a five day period for options decisions and exclusive negotiation with a team’s impending free agents … and then full free agency arrives.
- One of the big names on the market will be James Shields, whose season very likely ended with last night’s start in San Francisco. It was probably his best start in the playoffs, but it wasn’t a particularly great one, which means Shields will probably have to face the “yeah, but he hasn’t been any good in the playoffs” checkmark throughout the process. Will it actually cost him money (and make him more attractive, perhaps, to the kind of savvy organization that doesn’t buy into small sample size playoff hullaballoo)? Joel Sherman suggests it might, if teams are viewing the playoff struggles as more about the huge workload he’s had in his career. Alex Speier runs through the history of playoff struggles for top free agent pitchers, and isn’t sure Shields will be harmed.
- Sherman’s piece, by the way, has estimates on a Shields deal at five years and $90 to $100 million. I really don’t hate that level, even though Shields will pitch in 2015 at age 33. You’d prefer to keep it to four years, obviously, but 5/$90M is really not that bad.
- Gordon Wittenmyer writes about Shields and the Cubs, and still feels like Shields could be the top fallback option to Jon Lester. (On that, more former teammates are commenting on mutual interest between Lester and the Cubs, according to Wittenmyer.)
- It’s mostly a throwaway line, but, hey, I’ll mention it: in a piece about Joe Maddon, Nick Cafardo says that there is talk within the industry that the two pitchers the Cubs will be going after (presumably not trying to get both) are Lester … and Max Scherzer.
- There’s a wild story in the Daily News today from Bill Madden about the Red Sox and Yoenis Cespedes, who’s already been rumored as a trade candidate. The gist is that Cespedes is too hard to handle, especially now with his agency switch (? he’s now with Roc Nation, the same agency that represents Rusney Castillo – the Cuban outfielder the Red Sox just signed), and all the coaches hate him. That’s actually in the piece, according to a “Red Sox insider.” You can expect some denials of this one lickety split.
- Travis Sawchik analyzes whether it’s worth the Pirates stretching to retain catcher Russell Martin.
- Peter Gammons reminds folks of Luke Hochevar, who is a free agent after undergoing Tommy John Surgery back in March. He had broken out as a reliever in 2013, and there might be a number of teams trying to get him on a one-year-and-one-option deal this offseason.