Shields heading to Padres, not Tigers

Tony Paul
The Detroit News
James Shields spent two years with the Royals. Now he's off to the Padres.

David Price had hoped his good friend, James Shields, would join him in Detroit.

But, not too surprisingly, that won't be the case.

Shields and the San Diego Padres agreed on a four-year deal early Monday morning, according to a report from SB Nation's Chris Cotillo. The deal, Cotillo said, is worth between $72 million and $78 million and includes a club option for a fifth year.

The money is far below what Shields had been looking for -- and even farther below but the other two pitchers in this offseason's Big Three ended up receiving. Jon Lester got $155 million from the Cubs, and then Max Scherzer $210 million from the Nationals.

Shields, at 33, is older, and his market, fair or not, might've been bruised by a rough showing in the postseason with the Kansas City Royals last autumn.

Still, it's another big move for the Padres, who continue their bold rebuild under new general manager A.J. Preller. Earlier this winter, they revamped the offense with trades for Matt Kemp, Justin Upton, Wil Myers, Will Middlebrooks and Derek Norris.

The Padres haven't won more than 77 games in a season since 2010, but are looking like a legit National League West threat for at least 2015, if not beyond.

In a nine-year major-league career, Shields, a right-hander, is 114-90 with a 3.72 ERA. He's an absolute workhorse, averaging more than 223 innings for the last eight seasons. He once threw 11 complete games in one season, or 10 more than Scherzer has thrown in his career. He carries the nickname "Big Game James," though that label faded a bit this October, as three of his five postseason starts were duds.

He spent the first seven years of his career with the Rays, but was traded in December 2012 for Myers, then the top prospect in baseball who will now be his teammate.

The Royals couldn't afford to keep Shields; they knew that from the get-go. But the American League champs are confident they'll do fine with Edinson Volquez as his replacement, plus the emergence of Brandon Finnegan.

Fox Sports' Jon Paul Morosi reported the Tigers had some conversations with Shields' representatives, but Morosi didn't know to what extent. Some suspected the Tigers might turn to Shields after it became clear they would lose Scherzer, but Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski has said since December he was satisfied with his rotation.

Also this offseason, Shields reportedly turning down an offer of more than $100 million from a mystery team.

The Shields deal, which is pending a physical, leaves just three remaining members of The Detroit News' top 50 free agents: relievers Francisco Rodriguez and Rafael Soriano, and starting pitcher Chris Young, whose market should now perk up significantly with Shields off the board.

tpaul@detroitnews.com

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