Top ten free agents the Red Sox could pursue this offseason

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Aug 14, 2014; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Royals pitcher

James Shields

(33) delivers a pitch against the Oakland Athletics during the first inning at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

James Shields, SP

While we’re on the topic of top starting pitchers, we might as well spend some time talking about Shields. Shields, the third-best pitcher on the free agent market behind Jon Lester and Max Scherzer (who is likely out of Boston’s price range), could be an interesting option for the Red Sox if they miss out on Lester.

Shields has been a consistently solid pitcher for the better part of the last decade, after breaking into the majors with the Tampa Bay Rays in 2006, and he’s as known a quantity as they come. He is having a typical Shields season in 2014, posting a 3.29 ERA with a 3.91 K/BB, and profiles as a solid #2 starter for any team.

The one major concern for Shields is his age as he is currently 32 years old but could still be in the market for a longterm deal this offseason. However, the Red Sox could likely sign him to a similar contract to Santana: somewhere in the 3 year/$60M range or perhaps 4 years/$75M. If the Red Sox miss on Lester, though, Shields is their best bet to acquire a top-flight starter.