James Shields Nearing a Decision

2/8/2015 Second Update: The picture surrounding James Shields and his final decision is still coming into focus but new information has been reported today. Padres beat writer Dennis Lin said this morning that “it would be a surprise” if he did not sign with the Padres but also that Shields may wait until Monday to choose.

Lin also clarifies a third team still in on Shields, the Marlins, and says that they along with the Cubs have made a late push for the right hander. Lin also notes that should Shields sign with San Diego, that it would be the largest contract in the history of the franchise.

Jon Heyman echoes Lin’s notion that the Padres are the favorite, he describes the Cubs as a “major outside threat to sign Shields” and also mentions that the Blue Jays and Cardinals may also still be in the mix.

The Cubs would be an interesting destination for Shields given that the team has already made a splash by bringing in star lefty Jon Lester. Shields would form a formidable one two punch with Lester ahead of budding young talent Jake Arrieta and Jason Hammel.

The situation is winding down whether the decision comes today or tomorrow. It won’t be long before we know with certainty where Shields will pitch in 2015 and how much he will receive.

2/7/2015 First Update: In the last hours, two ESPN reports have surfaced on Twitter offering updates regarding the ongoing bidding for Shields. Buster Olney reported that an official involved in the bidding process for Shields told him the final contract for Shields may not go as high as four years, and $80 million.

This contract would be significantly less than the five year, $100 million dollar contract Shields initially sought. The second report courtesy of Jim Bowden, said that the Padres have submitted their final offer to Shields. There is surprisingly little available information regarding the other teams involved in the bidding, but one other suitor still in the mix may be the Chicago Cubs.

The final decision from Shields is expected to be made before the end of the weekend.

Original story follows:

According to Scott Miller of Bleacher Report, the San Diego Padres are gaining momentum in their discussions with free agent starter James Shields.

It was reported by Jon Morosi on Monday that Shields was expected to make his decision by the end of the week and the Padres seem to be making progress towards a deal.

Shields has made it known that he likes the idea of signing with a West Coast team close to his San Diego home. The 33 year-old Shields had been linked to the Yankees, Cubs, and Astros but the hot name of late has been the Padres.

Shields exceeded the 225 inning threshold for the fourth consecutive year in 2014, pitching to a 3.21 ERA in his second year with the Royals. Shields has been the consummate workhorse from his days in Tampa Bay, pitching 200+ innings in every season since 2007 and never exceeding a 4.25 ERA over that same span.

Shields would also presumably rule out the Padres adding Cole Hamels but would fill a similar role, stepping into the front of a young San Diego rotation with tons of talent but a lot of injury concerns. Shields would offer veteran stability to a young Padres team and can provide leadership and playoff experience.

Initially seeking a five year pact north of $100 million, recent speculation has suggested that a contract worth $70-80 million is more likely at this point. A rotation featuring Shields, Andrew Cashner, Tyson Ross, Ian Kennedy, and perhaps Josh Johnson or Brandon Morrow would have tremendous upside and offer legitimacy to the Padres playoff hopes even a fiercely competitive National League West division.

New San Diego General Manager AJ Preller has already made waves this offseason behind the additions of Matt Kemp, Justin Upton, Wil Myers, Derek Norris and Will Middlebrooks, but signing James Shields to anchor Manager Bud Black‘s rotation would be a cherry on top of the sundae in what has been one of the most promising offseasons for Padres fans in recent memory.

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