Should the Baltimore Orioles make a run at James Shields?
Let me preface this by saying that James Shields would be well worth whatever the Baltimore Orioles or someone else ends up paying him – presumably, that is. “Big Game James” has long been a great MLB pitcher, and a thorn in the Orioles’ side at that. The fact is that he’s still a free agent, holding out for big money which at this point appears not to be coming. The question is whether or not the O’s should kick the tires.
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My initial gut reaction would be that they should. However while a pitcher of his caliber is always a welcome addition, we also need to look at a few facts. First off, Shields would cost the O’s their first round draft pick in 2015. Anyone who attended FanFest on Saturday heard Dan Duquette talk about how the strength of any organization is it’s farm system. The O’s didn’t have a first round pick last year, and surrendering that in 2015 would also ensure that this year as well. Not having a first round pick two years in a row might jeapordize the future a bit.
However there is a scenario whereby Shields would end up being a decent addition for the Birds. As of this moment, I think that the Orioles are set in terms of pitching. Again, you can always make room for someone of Shields’ caliber, however I think the pitching staff is in good shape. Signing Shields would possibly make one or more starters expendable to the Orioles. If the O’s could trade someone (perhaps even Ubaldo Jimenez) for perhaps an outfielder or a medium-prospect, then it might be worth signing Shields.
This is really the same story as if the Orioles had signed Max Scherzer, who eventually went to Washington. The big question is how much of an impact would he make? There would be an impact for sure, however again the Orioles’ pitching staff is already in decent shape. Plus with Bundy in the wings, things look even brighter.