The Diamondbacks are no longer pursuing right-hander James Shields, general manager Dave Stewart told reporters today, including Jack Magruder of FOX Sports Arizona (Twitter link). Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic adds that Stewart said the market for Shields changed following Max Scherzer’s seven-year deal with the Nationals (Twitter link).
Stewart has publicly expressed his club’s interest in Shields in the past, opining that Shields was a “throwback” type of pitcher that would appreciate the D-Backs’ old school approach. Somewhat controversially, Stewart speculated that Shields might view the D-Backs as a “true” baseball team as opposed to others that are more driven by numbers and analytics.
Arizona could undoubtedly benefit from Shields’ presence in an otherwise thin rotation, but Stewart said at the time he acknowledged his interest in Shields that he was also aiming to get the team’s payroll under $100MM. Since then, reports have indicated that Arizona is actively trying to shed payroll, making Shields seem a tough fit. The D-Backs have Jeremy Hellickson and Josh Collmenter locked into their rotation, but beyond that, there’s little certainty. Rubby De La Rosa, Allen Webster, Trevor Cahill, Vidal Nuno and Chase Anderson are among the rotation candidates on the 40-man roster, and they’ve also added former Mariners starter Blake Beavan on a minor league deal this offseason.