Ranking Baseball’s Top Free Agents With Qualifying Offers

Max Scherzer

3. James Shields – “Big Game” James finds himself hitting the open market for the first time in his career at the perfect moment. Despite his actual postseason numbers calling his moniker into question — 3-6 lifetime with a 5.46 era in 11 postseason starts — Shields has the benefit of recent memory rewriting history. As one of the key faces to the Kansas City Royals’ improbable World Series run — ultimately, they ended up falling just short of capturing the title — Shields was the starting pitcher for five of his team’s sixteen postseason games. Like Scherzer, Shields is a consistent machine, starting at least 30 games in eight straight seasons and compiling a lifetime ERA of 3.72 despite pitching most of his career in the American League East. Shields is clearly the third-best pitcher on the market this year — Scherzer and Lester, who does not have a draft pick compensation tied to him, lead the class — and he will certainly receive a contract comparable to his ranking behind the top two.

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Mario Mergola
Mario Mergola is a writer, avid sports fan, former ESPN Radio producer, husband, and father who specializes in finding the hidden gems of the less-explored option. Follow @MarioMergola