Kansas City Royals ace James Shields has "made it clear" to the team that he intends to seek a lucrative deal similar to Zack Greinke's when his current contract expires after the season, as Peter Gammons reports (via Gammons Daily).
Shields was traded to the Royals for AL Rookie of the Year Wil Myers. The trade did not receive many rave reviews. Shields rewarded Royals general manager Dayton Moore by posting one of the best seasons of his career. In 228⅔ innings, he posted a 3.15 ERA and a 1.24 WHIP. The Royals won 21 of his 34 starts, and had their best season as a franchise since 1989.
However, some of his peripheral stats from last season -- like a career-low 8.9 percent home run-to-flyball ratio -- suggest he could regress in 2014. Even if he can repeat his performance, a "Zack Greinke"-type contract (6-years, $147 million) would likely price him out of Kansas City. That would leave the team with only Wade Davis remaining from the return on Myers when the 2015 begins.
Davis has struggled as a starter (4.57 ERA in 88 career starts), and his contract would make him an expensive relief option for a small-market team like the Royals.
The 2015 free agent class is a little less impressive in light of Clayton Kershaw's massive, new extension with the Dodgers, but it could still be an quality group, featuring accomplished staters like Shields, Max Scherzer, Jon Lester, Homer Bailey, and Justin Masterson. Considering the lucrative deals that have been signed by starters this offseason, Shields' goal of matching Greinke's contract next winter could be an attainable target for the 32-year-old.