The latest reports on the James Shields front from Thursday had the Padres as the likely favorites to sign the right-hander, with the Cubs and Blue Jays on the periphery of the talks. Shields is reportedly expected to come to a decision by the time this weekend comes to a close, so resolution to his lengthy free agency saga could be nigh. Here’s the latest on the former Royals righty…
- Whether or not the Padres are the favorites to sign Shields, they have not spoken with his camp in over 24 hours, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. Agreement does not appear imminent, per the report, though San Diego has discussed numbers with Shields.
- Cubs manager Joe Maddon tells MLB Network Radio (Twitter link) that club president of baseball operations Theo Epstein spoke with him about the prospect of signing the righty. Those comments certainly confirm prior reports that the team has had some internal consideration of the possibility, though of course it remains unclear exactly what level of interest Chicago has (and at what price it might bite).
- Astros owner Jim Crane told Jose De Jesus Ortiz of the Houston Chronicle that he doesn’t envision his team signing Shields. Some have speculated that Houston could be a sleeper for Shields, with the fruits of their rebuilding efforts on the brink of Major League contribution. However, Crane cited the lack of TV revenue from 2014 and Shields’ age as factors. “With the (local) TV money not coming in last year, that really hurt. That was over $50 million that we did not receive,” said Crane, who also added that he’s not sure the team is quite ready to begin making four-year investments. He did note that the Astros would have to consider the move “if we got a good deal.”
- There’s a growing sense among those involved in Shields talks that he will end up with the Padres, tweets Buster Olney of ESPN.com.
- The Padres are believed to have a max payroll of about $105MM in 2015, reports Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune (Twitter link). As such, Lin feels that an addition of Shields is very possible for the Friars. San Diego currently projects to have a payroll around $84MM, thanks to the $18MM of Matt Kemp’s 2015 salary that will be picked up by the Dodgers.