The last big-name on the free-agent market, Shields reportedly has agreed to a four-year deal to pitch for the San Diego Padres. The deal, said to include a club option, is worth as low as $72 million US and as high as $78 million, several media outlets reported.
The Toronto Blue Jays, Chicago Cubs and Miami Marlins were also believed to have interest in the 33-year-old right-hander, who spent the first nine seasons of his major league career in the American League, most recently for the AL champion Kansas City Royals.
Shields, who has thrown the most innings in the majors over the past eight seasons, joins an already strong starting rotation that includes Andrew Cashner, Tyson Ross and Ian Kennedy.
In 34 starts for Kansas City last season, Shields had a 14-8 record, 3.21 earned-run average and 180 strikeouts in 227 innings.
He wasn’t nearly as effective in the 2014 post-season, going 1-2 in five outings with a 6.12 ERA.
Shields’s signing continues an active offseason for first-year general manager A.J. Preller, the former Texas Rangers executive who set out to transform the Padres’ low-scoring offence by acquiring players that could help San Diego improve immediately on their 77-85 record from last season.
Over the winter, the Padres have added outfielders Matt Kemp, Justin Upton and Wil Myers, catcher Derek Norris, infielder Will Middlebrooks and relief pitchers Shawn Kelley and Brandon Maurer.
San Diego hasn't had a winning record since 2010 (90-72) and last played in the post-season in 2006, losing in four games to St. Louis in the NL Division Series.