By Chris Zolli, Padres Correspondent, Wed, Feb 4th 8:52am EST
Shields is the last big ticket MLB free agent on the market, excluding international free agent Yoan Moncada, and looks to make a decision by the end of the week. Shields' agent was most recently contacted by the New York Yankees and San Diego Padres. (Source: Fox Sports
Fantasy Impact: Shields' decision could seriously change the outlook of either playoff race. If he goes to San Diego, Shields would give the young pitching staff a veteran leader and the massively improved Padres would become a legitimate threat for the NL Wild Card. If Shields signs in the Bronx, that would give the Yankees more firepower to get back to the playoffs for the first time since 2012 and provide a stable option among injured and questionable pitchers. Shields' skills are well defined: he is durable and reliable. His statistics over the past four years paint the picture of Shields as an ace, he has a 3.17 ERA and a 1.15 WHIP, but the caution is that there are a lot of innings on his arm. Although Shields does not have an injury history, he is coming off of a season where he pitched more than 275 innings and, at 33, has pitched 1910 innings in his career. This speaks to his durability, but it also says that he may be reaching a point of limited returns and could meet a steep decline in his career. He is still a top-25 pitcher and could get a bump in his numbers if he goes to a pitcher's ballpark in San Diego, so draft Shields wisely and he should be a solid SP2.