I don’t have time to write a full post on this right now, but the fire is hot, so I’m striking.

I read Jeff Todd’s report at MLB Trade Rumors this morning speculating that the James Shields market may be weakening to the point where a team might sign him for $50 million or less. The article provides strong historical parallels, but I’m not convinced a big spender won’t step in at the end.

At lunch, I’m thinking, that the Reds are in exactly the right spot where signing Shields would be a sensible idea if the market has indeed weakened to that point.

A few minutes ago I read a new post from our friends at Red Reporter by Charlie Scrabbles advocating such a thing. His thinking jives with mine. If the Reds have the money to contemplate signing Johnny Ceuto, they have more than enough to sign Shields. Then they could either cash in Cueto right now for 2 or 3 top-tier prospects, or trade Mike Leake for prospects.

Either way, they structure the Shields contract so it doesn’t add much to the payroll minus Cueto or Leake. Or the owner could open up his wallet even further and keep them all and see if they can make a run with Cueto, Shields, Bailey and Leake in the rotation. I say yes. It’s so easy spending someone else’s money.

The Reds should be in on Shields at $70 million/4 years, but it would be much better — and possibly doable — to be in at $55 million/3 years.

What say you, Nation?