James Shields “Doubtful” to Return to Royals


At this point, we all have to assume that James Shields is not going to return to the Kansas City Royals. Actually, that ship appeared to have sailed when the Royals signed Edinson Volquez and Kris Medlen. A theoretically healthy Medlen, when he is able to return in the middle of the season barring setbacks, would give the Royals more starters than openings in the rotation. There just would not seem to be a need for Shields at this point.

Yet, with Shields still remaining as a free agent, the thought that he may return to Kansas City at a reduced rate, as unlikely as it may be, will still come up. For as much as the team may improve both offensively and in the bullpen next season, bringing Shields back would certainly upgrade the rotation as well. Having either Volquez or Jason Vargas as the possible fifth starter with Shields fronting the rotation once again could give the Royals quite the strong starting staff.

Yesterday, however, Dayton Moore appeared to confirm the initial thoughts that James Shields would not be returning to the Royals. While he did admit that attempting to bring Shields back is tempting and crossed his mind, it is not something he expects to happen.

"“At this point in time, though, it’s doubtful we bring back James (Shields),” Moore said."

What is interesting in that blurb and in the quote is that Dayton Moore did not entirely rule out the chance that James Shields could come back. While he said it is “doubtful,” that does not exactly close the door on a reunion in Kansas City. Perhaps, if the price drops far enough, Moore, Shields and the Royals could come to some agreement to bring the righty back.

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Does this theme sound familiar? Well, it should. Just last year, Ervin Santana found himself in a similar position after being given a qualifying offer from the Royals, languishing in free agency before landing a one year contract from the Braves. For each day that Santana spent on the market, it was thought that the odds were increasing for his return to the Royals.

Eventually, Santana received a contract. The same is likely for James Shields. Even though he is not likely to have to settle for as little as Santana did, the outcome is likely to be the same. He will not be walking through the clubhouse doors at Kauffman Stadium unless it is as a visitor, and the Royals will receive that compensatory draft pick.

The door may be open for James Shields to return, but unlike Tom Bodett at Motel Six, Dayton Moore should not leave the light on.

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