Oct 15, 2014; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Royals starting pitcher James Shields brings the American League championship trophy back out to the field after game four of the 2014 ALCS playoff baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles at Kauffman Stadium. The Royals swept the Orioles to advance to the World Series. Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports
Another pitcher who is sure to be on the radar of many clubs is Shields. He was 14-8 with a 3.21 ERA this season, helping to lead the Kansas City Royals to the World Series for the first time since 1985.
Shields isn’t as flashy of a pickup as Scherzer would be, but he is a solid innings eater with an average WAR of 3.8 over the past four seasons.
His potential contract would likely be less of a hit as well. The soon-to-be 33-year old will likely get a 4-5 year deal worth an average of about $10-$12 million a year.
Of course, if Scherzer was the number one pitcher available on the market, Lester is 1A, or perhaps it’s the other way around. Regardless, Lester is set to make a rather large payday this winter.
The 3-time All-Star has had only one losing season in his nine-year career (2012) and looks better than ever this year. His 16-11 mark is stained by a lack of run support (sound familiar?). But the true Lester story lies in the 2.46 ERA, 155 ERA+ and 220 K’s in 219.2 IP.
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Lester made $13 million in 2014 and looks to improve on that figure in a 5-7 year deal. I’m not sure if the average annual salary will match or exceed what Scherzer will get, but the price may be driven by the amount of interest in the lefty.
The Mariners were named as a possible landing spot for Lester at the trade deadline, as he is from Tacoma and could be lured by the possibility of helping his hometown team back to the playoffs.
Lester had said after his trade to Oakland that he would be open to a return to the Red Sox. But with the Cubs openly expressing interest, as well as the Dodgers and Yankees in the mix, the Mariners may not be able to win a bidding war of that magnitude.