Shields unlikely for Marlins

SAN DIEGO — James Shields fits what the Marlins want, a top of the rotation veteran and proven innings-eater. But the right-hander doesn’t match up with the club’s budget.

Until the Royals ace in 2014 signs, you never completely close the door. But it is extremely unlikely the Marlins will sign Shields.

Miami’s payroll projects around $65 million, and Shields may end up signing for close to $100 million.

Although they appear out of the Shields’ sweepstakes, there is a confidence within the organization that the Marlins will make at least one significant move during the Winter Meetings, which start Monday and run through Thursday.

A top of the rotation starter and power bat are the team’s top two priorities. The trade route seems the most likely for the pitcher.

Miami is willing to trade prospects, and there is considerable interest from other clubs in Nathan Eovaldi, who could become a trade piece if a starter is added. Should that play out, where Miami adds an arm, and Eovaldi is dealt, that increases the chances Aaron Crow would get a chance to start.

The Marlins acquired Crow, previously a reliever for Kansas City, the day after Thanksgiving.

For Miami, there are lefty trade possibilities out there.

Arizona’s Wade Miley makes sense. The lefty is entering his first season of arbitration, and he topped 200 innings in ’14. The D-backs just acquired lefty Robbie Ray, which adds depth to their roster.

Detroit’s David Price is the most established. A former Cy Young Award winner, the veteran can step in and become an immediate ace. But the lefty is a free agent next year, so he would likely be a one-year alternative.

The Angels are open to trading lefty C.J. Wilson, who the Marlins coveted when he was a free agent in 2012. But Wilson is making $18 million in 2015, and $20 million in ’16.

If Miami made a deal with the Angels, Los Angeles would likely have to pick up at least half of the remaining contract.

Jon Niese of the Mets is another potential lefty, but New York would unlikely trade with a National League rival.

Cole Hamels of the Phillies could be a choice. But, like Niese, Philadelphia doesn’t appear open to moving their former World Series MVP to Miami.

Joe Frisaro

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