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Arizona Diamondbacks no longer pursuing free agent pitcher James Shields
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Arizona Diamondbacks no longer pursuing free agent pitcher James Shields

James Shields is the best free agent starting pitcher still available on the market.

Despite their efforts in landing the 33-year-old, the Arizona Diamondbacks won’t be signing Shields to fortify their starting rotation.

“We are not,” D-backs general manager Dave Stewart said Thursday, when asked if his team was still trying to land Shields. “The market’s changed and we thought it would and knew would once (Max) Scherzer came out. We tried hard.

“It was big news for about two weeks.”

Scherzer, a one-time Diamondback and 2013 American League Cy Young Award winner, inked a seven-year, $210 million deal with the Washington Nationals earlier this week.

Shields has spent the last two seasons with the Kansas City Royals and won 14 games for the American League champs last season. He’s been a picture of consistency in his career, averaging 223 innings pitched and 14 wins per season since 2007. The right-hander has posted a 3.64 ERA in that span.

According to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, Detroit, Kansas City, Miami, Toronto, Boston, Milwaukee and San Diego are still pursuing Shields.

Stewart was also asked if the Diamondbacks were ever in on Scherzer.

“We were never at that park,” he said, referring to the high price tag the right-hander commanded. “We were in the Little League field.”

The Diamondbacks’ payroll currently sits at $91.5 million heading into spring training.

“We’re pretty comfortable where we are right now with our number,” Stewart said.