Starting pitcher James Shields posted one of the better seasons of his career in 2013, which is why it came as a shock to no one that the Kansas City Royals picked up the option on the 31-year-old. Even though everyone in the world of baseball knew Shields would remain with the Royals, it is still good to acknowledge the smart move by the organization.
“Well, yeah, I was hopin’,” Shields said, according to Royals.com. “I feel good about it; I feel like I pitched well for them last year, and obviously over my career I’ve proven that I eat a lot of innings, and I’m just excited to be back and be a Royal and have a good season next year.”
Kansas City is slowly coming around as a team that should be on people’s radars. The hitting is coming around, the defense is phenomenal and the pitching has made huge strides in recent years.
There is no question the addition of Shields, among other players, was the difference maker the past season. The right-hander is a fantastic asset to have on the mound. However, he is so much more than that. He gives the team confidence that they have a realistic shot to win every time he steps out of the dugout. The overall morale of the team simply heightens when he is around.
If Kansas City wants to improve on their stellar 86-76 record in 2014, they will need Shields to be a huge asset once again. The good news is he will be playing with the idea of getting a solid contract extension or new contract elsewhere, which means the Royals can expect another top-notch performance from him.