The Miami Marlins eventually did not land James Shields, as the free agent righty ended up near his hometown by signing a four-year contract worth $75 million with the San Diego Padres. As expected, Shields took the four-year offer that was available to him and ended up with what was likely close to his market value for four years, putting him at almost $19 million a season.
For months, the Marlins had stayed in the periphery of the Shields race, and in recent weeks, there were rumors that the Fish were among the few suitors involved for his services. The Fish eventually did not get their man, but according to various sources, it did not mean they weren't trying. Joe Frisaro of MLB.com reported that the Fish were competitive until the $70 million mark.
Sometime Saturday afternoon, when the Shields bidding got to four-years and the $70 million range, the #Marlins knew they were out.— Joe Frisaro (@JoeFrisaro) February 9, 2015
Miami avoided a longer-term commitment than they would have preferred, as the franchise likely offered a three-year deal perhaps with a fourth-year option, the exact sort of contract that would have made sense for Miami. The Fish did not want to commit further and forfeit this year's draft pick.
To their credit #Marlins didn't risk blowing up future payrolls with overpay on Shields, who also would have cost 12th overall pick.— Joe Frisaro (@JoeFrisaro) February 9, 2015
The Marlins were linked to Shields throughout the offseason, and it seems that was rightfully the case. Frisaro reports that Shields kept an eye on the team throughout this process.
That is totally within reason for both sides. Miami stated their price, did not want to commit to four years, and got out of the race when it came down to that. For a 33-year-old pitcher who may have a couple of effective seasons remaining under his belt at his price tag, that is more than a reasonable assumption. Shields may be the rare Mark Buehrle type who can sustain success and longevity for another four years into his age-37 campaign, but Miami has limited funds as of right now and they were unwilling to hedge that bet for the sake of 2015 and 2016, when Shields is most likely to be effective.
However, as Buster Olney of ESPN.com reports, Miami was more willing than expected to bet on Shields.
The perception of some involved in the talks is that the Marlins might have had the highest offer out on Shields, but Shields picked SD.— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) February 9, 2015
Shields may have taken the four-year deal for less yearly money, and Miami may have offered a three-year contract with more per-year salary. Could the Marlins have offered three years and $60 million and had that rejected in favor of the security of a four-year deal? Certainly you would expect with such competing offers, the proximity of San Diego to Shields's home in southern California also likely played a role. Either way, the Marlins were probably in the dogfight for his services until the bitter end.
Are you happy with the results? Do you think the Marlins were right to avoid Shields at this price? Let us know in the comments!