By Peter Rogers @petahrahgas on October 12, 2014

Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

The Boston Red Sox need pitching help — that much is obvious. While Red Sox fans would love to bring back star pitcher Jon Lester this offseason, that might not be super realistic. Lucky for the Sox, Lester isn’t the only stud pitcher hitting free agency.

James Shields‘ name has already been thrown about as a Red Sox target, with Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star going as far as to say the Sox are “early favorites” to sign the right-handed pitcher. I like the sound of that.

Executives around the league expect Shields to get five years from anywhere between $80 million to $110 million total. Now that $80 million seems extremely low, but if that’s a realistic number the Sox can sign Sheilds to, then that will be the steal of the century. Even five years, $110 million is a good price for a pitcher who was looking for Zack Greinke money at the beginning of the year. Five years may seem long since Shields turns 33 years old in 2015, but he has a long history of being extremely durable so paying him until he’s 38 isn’t the worst thing the Red Sox could do.

But worrying about what Shields might be at 38 is silly. Even worrying about him at 36 isn’t important. What’s important is what Shields would bring to this young Red Sox team for the next two to three years.

With both the Tampa Bay Rays and Kansas City Royals, Shields has shown that he is an strong locker room presence and extremely influential on younger pitchers. With plenty of young pitchers already in the rotation (Brandon Workman and …read more