Miami reportedly made a competitive proposal to James Shields, and according to ESPN's Buster Olney may have made him the highest offer. So while Shields ultimately ends up in San Diego, did the Marlins lose out, or did they rightfully back off?
Michael Jong: The Marlins tried their best. They made competitive offers to James Shields in the latter stages of the offseason, but the bidding got too high for them and they rightfully bowed out. Shields was a good pitcher at age 32, which makes him more likely to be a good pitcher at age 33 and 34, but the latter years of that contract are still a scary proposition for a low-budget team like Miami. The addition of two wins to a club looking to win now was worth the price tag of $19 million per season, but if the finances were going to get in the way of eventually working out long-term contracts for players like Christian Yelich or Jose Fernandez, the Fish were within reason to not pursue. In the end, they were outbid, but the fact that they were in the race was a good idea to begin with.
Eric Mullen: I was all for the Marlins going after James Shields, even if an $18-$20 million price-tag per year over a span of four years was attached to him. Giancarlo Stanton took a back-loaded deal so that the Marlins could be players in the free agent market to improve the roster, and the addition of a starting pitcher like Shields could have given them one of the more formidable starting rotations in the majors. So if the Marlins did indeed have the largest offer on the table for Shields, then it is, at the very least. a really positive signal from the front-office. Not only does it show that the front office is progressing, in that they are willing to go out and spend money, but they also realize that the way the team is currently constructed is still an impact player or two away from being a definite playoff team. I would have really liked the addition of Shields, but it was nice to see this new-found aggressiveness in the Marlins front-office by getting in a bidding war for a top-tier free-agent.
Daniel Smith: I applaud the Marlins for trying to sign Shields, but I'm fairly happy that it didn't work out. Yes, he would have definitely helped Miami's playoff push, but signing him would not have guaranteed a postseason berth. The terms of the contract Shields wanted were also getting out of hand. Long and expensive contracts are a bad idea for players in their 30s. The Padres will come to regret the 4-year deal they just agreed to. Shields is now, on average, earning close to $20 million dollars a year. I'm not an expert, but I wouldn't pay a pitcher with a career ERA of 3.72 that much money per year.