Free agent James Shields reportedly has a $110 million offer out there somewhere, but it's also being said that he has no interest in playing for the team who submitted it. The problem, though, is that of the teams Shields would play for, none of them are even close to approaching that deal. The Diamondbacks are one such team, according to FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal, and their interest is a "strong indication" that Shields' market isn't at the $100 million level.
If you'll remember a few weeks back, the D-Backs were one of the teams who were out on Shields if he was hoping for a deal in the $100 million range. Now, though, they are reported to be in the mix on him, which Rosenthal takes to mean that the demands have come down out of necessity. This doesn't mean Shields will be cheap, mind you, but it makes it that much more likely that he's available for something in the realm of, say, four years and $90 million instead of five years and $110 million.
That's good news for the Red Sox, who could afford to add another arm both in terms of their payroll and their roster. Yes, it would shoot their 2015 payroll well over $200 million once arbitration is sorted out in the next month, but only $87 million is committed to the 2016 team, and we discussed in the past how $25 million a year for Jon Lester could have easily fit into the team's budget even if players like David Ortiz and Mike Napoli were retained. It's also good news in that Shields is already 33: limiting the deal to four years decreases the risk of him falling apart before the deal is over just enough to make the idea of Shields on the Sox a comfortable one.
The Sox have shown interest in Shields for some time now, and were initially the favorites for him before the offseason even officially began. At that time, there was a belief around the industry that Shields could sign for as low as $80 million, or as much as $110 million, so this information isn't even completely new so much as it's now verified in practice. He's still a risk at his age with the innings he has on his arm, but he would also give the Red Sox a top starter they don't have, push Joe Kelly to the bullpen where he could serve as both rotation depth and a vital relief piece, and immediately fill one of the possible 2016 rotation holes. If the Red Sox can do that for what is essentially the cost of Hanley Ramirez, well, that's pretty tempting.