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Marlins interested in James Shields

Miami reportedly checked in on one of the better starting pitchers available this offseason.

Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports

Miami has been linked to a number of pitchers after noting before the end of the season it has a desire to add a starter with experience. And according to Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal, the Marlins are among the teams interested in free agent James Shields.

The Marlins have been linked to Kyle Kendrick, Johnny Cueto, and Ubaldo Jimenez, and have made it clear they are looking for a controllable arm until Jose Fernandez returns next summer. The fact that Jennings drafted Shields in Tampa Bay makes the way he feels about the former Ray clear, but the Marlins' interest is somewhat notable considering they just completed a 13 year, $325 million extension with Giancarlo Stanton.

Although they have not discussed their goals, beyond a Stanton deal, in any particular order, the Marlins will likely look for another bat or two before they examine the market for starting pitchers. The organization is looking to add depth to the roster, and could be interested in Adam LaRoche at first base.

Shields is coming off of a 14-8 campaign with the Royals, during which he tossed 227.0 innings to complement a 3.21 ERA and 3.59 FIP. He saw his BB/9 decrease from 2.68 to 1.74, and may be the front of the rotation arm the Marlins are looking for until the 2013 National League Rookie of The Year is completely healthy. Having starting depth is essential for the Marlins so that Fernandez is not pressured to return to the mound prematurely.

Coming off of a productive 2014 season, Shields is seen by many as one of the best arms on the market. He should be paid accordingly, and the Marlins may have to outbid large market teams for his services. After getting the Stanton deal done, the Marlins do have the money to make a few other moves. But for what it will take to sign Shields, the Marlins might be able to improve the roster by making multiple smaller signings.

Few expected a Stanton deal to get done so soon, but since it did, the Marlins' interest in major free agents is not notably significant. Miami is looking to win now, and will likely make the moves it feels will improve the club over the next few seasons.