Have we been speculating about the wrong mega free agent pitcher on the market this offseason?
While Max Scherzer‘s every move has been closely monitored and reported by the Detroit Tigers media and fans, perhaps the team is casting the line for arguable a smaller, but more affordable, fish in James Shields.
Interesting enough, Dave Dombrowski told reporters yesterday that the Tigers would “probably not” resign Scherzer and today Jon Morosi reported:
This is an interesting prospect and one we’ve often discussed on Motor City Bengals and it makes some sense.
The Tigers would gain a top flight starting pitcher that they would be losing with Scherzer. Certainly Shields is not as good as Scherzer if you could postseason success and individual hardware (Cy Young), but he would come a lot cheaper than Max who still seems to be looking for a contract around $200 million despite no interest.
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Morosi is correct in saying that Shields and Price are close friends, the two spent five seasons in Tampa Bay before Shields was traded with Wade Davis to the Kansas City Royals for Wil Myers and others. This could warm Price up to pitching in Detroit and convince him to stick around past 2015, ensuring the Tigers will have a top-flight rotation for the immediate future. Assuming Shields signs for a reasonable fee, there would likely be money for Price.
It would also mean that Alfredo Simon could move to the bullpen and increase the depth of the unit that is annual the team’s Achilles’ Heel.
Of course this could all be one massive smoke screen. Most have figured the Tigers are never truly out of the Max Scherzer sweepstakes until they say they are out and don’t play coy, which is what DD has been doing with his “almost” denials. Floating a rumor about Shields could serve as a way to push Scherzer, and his agent Scott Boras, into to dropping their asking price.
If the two had the same asking price, the Tigers would absolutely choose Max because of his familiarity with the team and their comfort level toward him.
So if you could choose Tigers’ fans, who would you rather have? Max Scherzer? James Shields? Neither?
One thing is for sure, if Morosi’s report can be believed, while the Tigers are saying they are done this offseason, they are just lying. So what else are they lying about?