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Marlins 'closely monitoring' James Shields situation

The 33-year old pitcher could be a Marlin and will likely sign soon with Max Scherzer off the board.

Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

With Max Scherzer signing with the Nationals, the free agent starting pitching market is expected to pickup before the start of spring training. James Shields will likely be the next free agent pitcher to sign, and he has consistently been linked to the Marlins this offseason. There is reportedly an unknown team interested in Shields, and according to ESPN's Jim Bowden, the Marlins continue to monitor the situation.

Shields, 33, has been linked to the Marlins since November. He has tossed at least 200 innings each of the last eight seasons, and posted a 3.21 ERA and 3.59 FIP with Kansas City a season ago. Shields reportedly has a five-year, $110 million offer, but is waiting to accept the best deal. He reportedly wants a contract that exceeds $100 million and is at least five years in length.

While the Marlins are expected to have Henderson Alvarez, Jarred Cosart, Mat Latos, and Tom Koehler in their rotation when spring training begins, the need for another starter is the result of uncertainty with regard to the Dan Haren situation. If he is not traded, Haren has said he will report to Jupiter, however he could ultimately opt to retire.

It is worth noting that Bowden at one time earlier this offseason said he believes the Marlins can change the franchise's image by adding Shields. Signing Shields would prove that the Marlins are indeed looking to win now, an attitude that was made clear when the organization extended Giancarlo Stanton at the end of the season. But Shields could prove to be costly, and as a result Miami may become quickly uninterested.

There is evidently not one exclusive understanding of the Marlins' attitude with regards to Shields. While Bowden will not count them out, last week an unnamed source was quoted saying there is a "zero percent" chance the Marlins land Shields.

Miami is likely monitoring the situation to determine if the price will drop. And if it does, it would not be surprising if they were once again in the mix. Shields would be a quality addition to the Marlins' roster. But only time will tell if the club is truly interested and motivated to get a deal done.