The Blue Jays have begun to internally discuss free agent starter James Shields, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. As Shields’ expected price tag declines, it is anticipated that more clubs will get involved in the bidding. It was rumored over the last few weeks that he had a five-year, $110MM offer in hand. Either the deal never materialized or he did not want to sign with that team. Per Rosenthal, some executives now anticipate a four-year deal worth $70MM to $80MM.
Toronto’s interest is in the nascent stages. Their internal dialogue has focused on finding a comfortable price point. The club is “digging” for additional information regarding Shields. They have yet to engage in negotiations with agent Page Odle.
The Blue Jays currently have about $130MM committed to the roster with perhaps as much as $7MM remaining to address the bullpen. If the club does pursue Shields, it will probably require ownership intervention and a backloaded contract similar to that of Russell Martin. However, if Shields were to headline the rotation, it could free prospect Aaron Sanchez for a high leverage bullpen role.
In my own opinion, an eight figure price point should put a lot of teams back in play. The Diamondbacks and Tigers are two franchises who have recently been tied to Shields. In addition to the Blue Jays, the Yankees and Red Sox strike me as obvious fits at the revised price.