According to reports, free agent pitcher James Shields has signed with the San Diego Padres. Reports on this deal are still not finalized and the deal is pending a physical. While the number have yet been confirmed – it is said that the deal is for four years and an option for a fifth.
With this deal all but done, the final big name free agent pitcher is now off the board, teams can now start to really look at their roster to see if they are satisfied with what they have going into spring training. The Chicago Cubs who were reported as one of the recent front-runners for James Shields services can now will focus on the pitchers they have on staff and figure out where everyone after Jon Lester and Jake Arrieta. The biggest question for the rotation right now will be who wins the fifth starting spot – Travis Wood, Edwin Jackson, Tsuyoshi Wada, Dallas Beeler, and Jacob Turner.
With the early numbers not yet reported, just looking at the years that have been reported, it’s probably a good thing the Cubs did not sign James Shields. At age thirty-three now, this contract will take James Shields into a tough age for pitchers – especially considering the amount of innings his arm has already logged in his career to this point.
With Shields reportedly off the market, this may now get the rumor mill going even more about Cole Hamels, Jordan Zimmerman, and even David Price. The Chicago Cubs have been linked to these names before, most recently with Hamels and Zimmerman. The price is said to be considerably high for these aces but the return could be well worth the price. While I don’t see anything happening just yet, the price on Hamels might go down every month he is still with the Philadelphia Phillies.
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Considering the strength of the rest of the National League East, the Phillies are expected to be at the bottom on the standings. With a high payroll and a roster full of aging veterans, their need for young prospects are high – this putting the Cubs names clearly near the top of the rumors that will be atop of the headlines.
If the price drops and the Phillies get more desperate to drop payroll, we could see Hamels being moved before the July trade deadline. Will this be with the Cubs? Only time will tell, but the price will have to be right before the Cubs trade away any of the prospects they have spent the last few years stockpiling and covet.