I expected James Shields to be signed by now. So did James Shields.
Not sure why... maybe he's looking for the right deal or maybe the right deal hasn't popped up yet. Here's what I do know... the Yanks appear to be out.... but maybe that will change. Don't know what I mean? Keep reading...
ESPN's Buster Olney had a great opening line to his piece on Shields:
"With the benefit of 20-20 hindsight, it’s apparent that James Shields reached the zenith of his negotiation leverage on the night of Dec. 9. That was the night when Jon Lester finalized his decision to go to the Chicago Cubs, and the San Francisco Giants and other teams faced the reality that they needed a Plan B.
Shields was in a good spot in that moment, it seemed, because unlike Cole Hamels, he wouldn’t require a trade investment of prospects, and unlike Max Scherzer,
he wouldn’t require the equivalent of a Defense Department budget to
sign. Whatever cards Shields held at that time were probably the best he
has seen all winter.
But that leverage is now gone, and Shields is in the worst possible spot of any free agent..."
I can't believe I'm saying this, but I agree with Buster Olney. Shields is the house on the market that stays on too long... "Why is that house still on the market? Something must be wrong." Am I right? That's how people, or teams think... especially in February. That drives his cost down.
MLB.com makes a great point about Shields as well:
" I think the Yankees will be well served for the long run by what
they've done here this winter. But I also think that in what could be a
wide-open American League East, the Yanks would be remiss not to make
every effort to shore up their greatest weakness -- starting-pitching
stability -- before Opening Day. The most logical way to do that is to
sign James Shields...The Yankees don't need to be handing out $100 million contracts to
33-year-old pitchers. Everybody understands that. But I've never viewed
Shields as an obvious candidate for that size of deal, and the fact that
he's still unsigned the first week of February is pretty good
indication that plenty of executives and/or owners agree.
So now, we could be at or nearing the point where Shields' best
contractual hopes are in line with the Yanks' most logical levels of
commitment. In fact, with so many teams locked into their current budget
parameters, it's not inconceivable that Shields might be dropping into Ubaldo Jimenez (four years, $50 million) and Ervin Santana (four years, $55 million) territory. And if that's the case, the Yankees have the need and resources to pounce."
Interesting... and also true... the Yanks have pretty much made it clear that big, long contracts for aging pitchers is not happening... but no one said anything about shorter, cheaper deals for pitchers in their 30s. In fact, it may be a smarter idea, and Shields would fit that mold wonderfully.
No one knows where Shields will end up at this exact moment. Hell, the guy has been connected to many teams this off season... none of which have happened. So, as the price drops, as Shields maybe becomes desperate... could the Yankees swoop in? It's an interesting idea and one we've stated here at BYB at least once. Why? Because the idea of Shields in pinstripes is not half bad...especially now. Read BRING "BIG GAME" JAMES SHIELDS TO THE BRONX! In it, Jeana Bellezza wrote:
"There are some serious upsides with Shields. One thing that stands out
for me is that he has pitched more than 200 innings since 2007. The guy
is durable and we need that... He proved he could handle the AL East, so for once we don't have to question that.... if there is a chance that Shields wants a taste of the big apple and he
wants the bright lights the Yankees would be crazy not to give him a
Something to think about.
If something happens with Shields... wherever he ends up... we will bring it to you here at BYB.