The latest from the late-offseason rumor mill …
- While we wait some kind of specific update on the Cubs/James Shields rumor – there hasn’t been an immediately circulated denial, it seems, though that does’t necessarily mean anything – there are other Shields bits to update. The biggest is probably the revelation from Jon Heyman that the money the Dodgers are sending the Padres to help cover Matt Kemp’s salary is heavily front-loaded, such that the Padres are on the hook for just $3 million to Kemp in 2015. That means they’ve likely got significant financial flexibility to try and add a starting pitcher, as they are rumored to want to do (which could be a Shields, or a Cole Hamels). The Padres and Marlins are the only involved teams specifically mentioned by Heyman, though it’s worth pointing out that his report preceded Dave Kaplan’s about the Cubs. (For what it’s worth, Kaplan reiterated his report on the radio today, saying that his source on it is “impeccable.” As you may have expected, the Cubs’ offer might be limited to three years, according to Kaplan. I think that’s completely reasonable for the Cubs, but I question whether Shields can get that fourth year elsewhere.)
- On the Marlins, Clark Spencer’s sources tell him it’s extremely unlikely that the Marlins will actually sign Shields. Derrick Goold adds to the tweet he sent yesterday about the Cardinals not pursuing Shields, this time with a full column on the subject.
- If both of those are correct, we’re adding to where we were yesterday before the Cubs rumor broke: it’s really hard to figure out where Shields market is, especially if he’s currently deciding between several offers, considering how many teams have been ruled out. He’s from San Diego and reportedly would prefer to pitch out that way, and, given Heyman’s report, I think we can say for sure that the Padres are very involved. From there, you’ve got Dave Kaplan reporting that the Cubs are kicking the tires, and folks speculating that the Blue Jays might be hanging around the edges. Otherwise, it’s all still a big mystery.
- (Also on the Marlins: they won their arbitration case against Mat Latos today, and he’ll make $9.4 million in 2015 rather than the $10.4 million he’d requested. So there’s another million they can throw at Shields! (Back-loaded and deferred and payable in Itchy & Scratchy Money.))
- For what it’s worth, I’ve always thought the Tigers made sense for Shields (well, among many other teams), and they may have just lost Victor Martinez for a bit of the season. He’s set to have meniscus surgery in his knee, which could cost him a couple months and the start of the regular season. If so, would the Tigers consider supplementing another part of their roster to compensate? Assuming, that is, that they were interested in Shields to begin with, and this tips the scales? I’m just spitballing.
- The Red Sox have signed 28-year-old lefty Wade Miley to a three-year, $19.25 million extension, which buys out his arb years. The Red Sox also get a $12 million team option for 2018. I’m surprised the two sides were able to come together on this kind of deal after a trade earlier in the offseason, but they always seem to make sense to me – the Red Sox get cost certainty and an option year, Miley gets the first significant guarantee of his career.