The Orioles have done very little this off-season in free agency to improve the team. There is a player still sitting there that could do that: James Shields. If they sign him, he becomes, probably, the best pitcher on the staff.
Now, some would argue they need offense and bullpen help, not starting pitching, as they have 6 starters right now. Well, Shields is probably better than all of them, and his track record is definitely better. Since he has been in the big leagues, he has started at least 30 games and thrown over 200 innings every year (except his first year when he didn’t play the full season in the majors). His ERA the last 4 years: 3.2, 3.2, 3.5, 2.8. Basically, he never gets hurt, never misses a start and always has one of the best ERA’s. Plus, he played in Tampa so you know he can compete in the AL East. I know he wasn’t very good in the playoffs last year, but we’ll worry about that when we get there.
The Orioles could take the position the Nationals did with Max Scherzer. They have Jordan Zimmerman and Stephen Strasburg coming up for big paydays. What if they lose them and don’t sign Scherzer, then they’re screwed? Now they have a guy signed long-term.
The Orioles have Chen and Norris coming up for free agency next year. What if they don’t re-sign them, and they might not?
Signing Shields, if you get him at a good rate, would be an upgrade and give you flexibility to trade Norris or Gonzales for a position player to help your offense.