We had heard the reports that James Shields would be open to an extension with the Royals. Such a move would would make sense for both sides – the Royals would have their ace locked up for a few more years and Shields could be a valuable mentor to the young starters on the verge of reaching the majors. Meanwhile, the extension would give Shields stability and the knowledge that he would be calling Kansas City home for the foreseeable future. Then when it was rumored that Shields was asking for Zack Greinke money, those thoughts quickly vanished.
However, that report may not be true. According to Shields, he never asked for that type of compensation, saying that those reports just are not true.
“That’s absolutely not true,” Shields said. “I have no idea where he got that from, to be honest with you.”
What is known is that James Shields does want an extension, and that he would like to remain in Kansas City. Shields likes the direction that the Royals are heading in, and wants to be around when the turnaround is complete.
“I like Kansas City, I like the organization and I like the direction we’re going.”
Shields is the right type of pitcher for the Royals to look to build their rotation around. Having been with the Rays when they turned their fortunes around, he has already been a part of helping to change the direction of the franchise. That knowledge of what it takes to win and the aura of winning that he carries with him would make Shields the perfect mentor for the Royals pitching prospects.
It would also make sense to extend James Shields not only due to his performance and how he could impact the Royals in the future, but because of what it cost to get him. Trading Wil Myers and Jake Odorizzi left Dayton Moore open to being second guessed, but retaining Shields beyond 2014 would help to minimize some of that criticism.
Chances are, should an extension not get worked out, the Royals will make Shields a qualifying offer. As with other pitchers saddled by that tag and the draft pick compensation that would occur should they be signed, Shields may end up struggling to locate a team willing to give him a contract. But what kind of contract would entice him to remain with the Royals? Perhaps a three or four year deal worth around $16 Million per season would be enough to keep Shields in Kansas City for the next few years.
Just a few days ago, it seemed inevitable that James Shields would leave at the end of the year due to his salary demands. Now, it turns out that this may not be the case at all. Perhaps James Shields will end up being the player that remains in Kansas City.