Rays secure Shields for the long-term
St. Petersburg, FL (Sports Network) - The Tampa Bay Rays locked up their best young pitcher for the long term Wednesday, signing right-hander James Shields to a seven-year deal reportedly worth close to $44 million.
Shields, who went 12-8 with a 3.85 ERA in 31 starts in 2007, signed what is potentially the longest contract in franchise history prior to a press conference to announce the deal Wednesday afternoon.
The new pact guarantees Shields four years, with the next three years containing separate one-year club options that, if all exercised, would keep the 6-foot-4, 215-pound hurler in a Rays uniform through the 2014 season.
The 26-year old Shields was undefeated in his first 13 starts of 2007 -- 6-0 with a 3.05 ERA -- before going 6-8 over his final 18 outings to complete the season. He tossed a team-high 215 innings, becoming just the third player in Rays history to eclipse the 200-inning mark in a season.
For his two-year major-league career, the Newhall, California native has an 18-16 record with a 4.21 ERA. He has started 52 games since joining the Rays during the 2006 campaign, striking out 288 while walking just 74 and throwing a pair of complete games.