TODAY: Shields says he has also given a look to scouts for the Yankees and Orioles, as Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports (subscription link). To this point, though, Shields says he has yet to receive a “formal offer.”
It’s hard to believe that no teams were willing to sign Shields to a minor-league deal; reading between the lines, it may simply be that they didn’t bother based upon the indications given by his reps at PSI Sports Management. There does seem to be reason to believe that Shields is looking for a 40-man roster spot upon signing. His salary demands are not fully known. “I definitely am not asking for an outrageous salary,” he says, “but I would want to be treated fairly for what I do and bring to a ball club.”
It’s not entirely clear whether those three organizations maintain ongoing interest after watching the veteran hurler. But it seems all but certain that some team will ultimately pick up the durable and experienced 37-year-old.
Shields is obviously not the excellent rotation piece he once was, but he’s the type of steadying presence that could make quite a bit of sense for the right team. Still, his market has been quiet to the point of nonexistence thus far, at least in terms of public reporting.
Last year, Shields worked to a 4.53 ERA with 6.8 K/9 and 3.4 BB/9. Those are middling numbers, but it must be noted that Shields compiled them over 204 2/3 frames — a rather hefty tally in this day and age.
It’s possible to imagine a variety of scenarios making sense for Shields. Non-competitive teams may like the idea of slotting him in to gobble up innings and set the tone for younger teammates. And some contenders may even contemplate Shields as a gap-filler or limited-inning starter. He was hit hardest the third (.248/.310/.461 in 252 plate appearances) and fourth (.444/.474/.944 in 19 plate appearances) times through the order last year. Limiting that exposure, perhaps by pairing Shields with a lefty long man, could enhance his usefulness.