Legends On Deck

Where Will Scherzer And Shields Land?

Two of the remaining free agent pitchers on the market, who will definitely improve any rotation that they link up with, are Max Scherzer and James Shields.

Both pitchers have had great success on the hill over their major league careers and both are drawing attention from multiple clubs, but trying to figure out where they will end up is something that has been hard to predict so far.

Some media outlets have reported that Shields was already offered at least $110 million dollars for 5 years, which will make him a $22 million a year man. But the team has not been mentioned and Shields has yet to accept, which may not be a good sign, but will other teams match the apparent offer?

Shields was a big part of the Kansas City Royals regular season run to the World Series in 2014, as he led the league by appearing in a league leading 34 games, posting a 14-8 record, with 180 strike outs in 227 innings.

Over the last four years, two with the Tampa Bay Rays and the later two with the Royals, he has averaged 14 wins and led the league twice by starting in all of his 34 games.

Actually over his nine major league seasons, Shields has started in 285 of his 286 games, with the only relief appearance coming in a game in 2010 on two days rest and still able to get back on the mound for his next scheduled spot in the rotation. He is a pitcher that will bring immediate impact to any roster, but is the price tag just too high and if not, who is willing to pay him the money?

What about Scherzer, he too has put together a good run the last few years, actually it started when he joined the Detroit Tigers in 2010 by posting a 12-11 record, then in 2011 he was 15-9 and 16-7 in 2012.

The St. Louis native found his stride early on with the Tigers and in 2013 he became the best pitcher in the American League after starting the All-Star game and then winning the Cy Young award finishing the season 21-3, with 2.90 ERA and 240 strikeouts in 214.1 innings. This past summer, the seven-year veteran was 18-5, with a 3.15 ERA, with 252 strikeouts in 220.1 innings.

This fall Scherzer filed for free agency and as we are about a month from the start of spring training he too has yet to sign with a team. He is also being reported to having at least a $200 million dollar asking price. So who will take on that salary and sign him, and if no offers, will his asking price come down?

I am not one that thinks high salaries for one player is worth it, but if just comparing against other pitchers that have already signed, Jon Lester signed for 6 years/$155 million with the Chicago Cubs, so Scherzer may need to bring that asking price down if he would like to be on a team by the time spring training rolls around.

So the bigger question is, which free agent will be signed first?  Shields seems to come at a bigger bargain, but Scherzer is three years younger. Both pitchers are still at the top of their game and the rotation they join will be that much better.

So as the days count down to spring training, we are all anxiously waiting to see where both pitchers will land.

(Photo Credit: Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images and Greg M. Cooper)


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