james shields royalsWe talked about James Shields’ tough-to-peg market this weekend, and about how it remains unlikely that the Chicago Cubs would be seriously involved short of a healthy plummet in Shields’ price (but, then, at that point, many teams would probably get involved – thus tugging on the yo-yo string).

There are a couple updates on those two pieces to discuss this morning.

First, in the Nick Cafardo article we discussed yesterday as part of the Ben Zobrist trade rumor bit, there was a mention of Shields and the Cubs. I didn’t highlight it at the time because (1) I’d planned on discussing it in an upcoming Lukewarm Stove, and (2) it was fairly tenuous, with the Cubs and six other teams listed as having “had discussions” with, or having “shown interest” in, Shields according to a major league source. Given what we already know about the Cubs’ pitching plans – i.e., adding another significant arm this offseason is unlikely – I felt more comfortable discussing that slice in a Lukewarm Stove, rather than a dedicated post. The Zobrist bit was much more specific and plausible, so that’s what I wanted to focus on for the time being.

So, why am I writing about the Shields item now? Well, because of a new Ken Rosenthal report that bears some discussion in light of Cafardo’s article, and in light of the weekend’s discussion of Shields’ market.



Therein, Rosenthal reports that two executives have been led to believe Shields is already in possession of a five-year, $110 million offer. To be sure, it’s fair to be skeptical that Shields has an offer at that level and hasn’t already taken it, but, at the outset of the offseason, a five-year deal in the $90 to $100 million range seemed plenty plausible. So … maybe.

If that’s where the Shields bidding is, however, you can safely count the Cubs out. As I’ve said, I could envision the Cubs keeping in contact with Shields’ camp until he signs, merely to make sure his price tag doesn’t fall to a level where they’d be crazy not to at least consider the possibility (4/$75M? 3/$60M?). But if he’s going to get nine figures – and Rosenthal hears from multiple execs that the expectation is he will – I can’t see the Cubs seriously involved.

(Aside: I wasn’t going for a pun in the headline, but, considering the Cubs’ possible long-term plans for impact pitching … )




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