MLB Rumors: Royals Expected To Make Strong Push For Shields

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With the Los Angeles Dodgers eliminated from the playoffs, their attention can now squarely be placed on off-season matters such as improving the roster and deciding on whether or not to make changes in the front office.

After the Dodgers were eliminated by the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 4 of the NLDS, Josh Beckett announced his intention to retire, which didn’t come as a surprise. Wednesday brought news that general manager Ned Colletti may be on the hot seat with manager Don Mattingly in the clear.

As for free agency, the Dodgers will soon need to make a decision on Hanley Ramirez, whom they extend a qualifying offer to. Along with the need to solidify the shortstop position, the bullpen is need of a retooling and Beckett’s retirement vacates a spot in the starting rotation.

Among the pitchers who will become free agents is James Shields of the Kansas City Royals. However, signing Shields may be get costly as according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, the Royals will attempt to re-sign the Newhall, Calif. native:

The Royals, who have been presumed to be a long shot to bring back ace James Shields, have decided they will indeed at least make a run at re-signing him, people familiar with the situation say.

In the weeks leading up to the trade deadline, the Dodgers were rumored to have been involved in talks for Jon Lester, David Price and to a lesser extent, John Lackey. The team eventually decided against adding any of the marquee names, though they can revisit the possibility of acquiring Lester and Max Scherzer via in free agency.

While Shields may not headline the group of pitchers that will be available, an American League general manager told Heyman a deal around $80 million could be what’s required to sign Shields:

One competing AL GM suggested he believes Shields should match the deals of Anibal Sanchez and C.J. Wilson, who received $80 million and $77.5 million, respectively, on five-year free-agent deals in recent seasons.

While the Dodgers may be looking to fill the fifth spot in their starting with an external option, a deal of that magnitude may price them out of contention. The team has suggested the free-spending wouldn’t be everlasting and their focus on the farm system corroborates the notion.


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