Kansas City Royals right-hander James Shields never needed to fill the role of "ace" as a member of the Tampa Bay Rays, but he'll be relied upon to bring an ace mentality to the much improved Royals staff, according to Dick Kaegel of MLB.com.
The 30-year-old Shields, who was acquired along with left-hander Wade Davis and a player to be named later (or cash) in exchange for four of the Royals' top prospects (including phenom WIl Myers), was asked what a club might need out of an ace.
"There are a lot of intangibles that go along with that," Shields ventured. "You have to be a leader, you have to compete every day and give your team a chance to win, go deep into games. Throwing a lot of innings and saving the bullpen is huge. Just being able to show a good example."
If his track record is any indication, Shields has the potential to fill that role. In the past two season, he has posted a 31-22 record with a 3.15 ERA, 1.103 WHIP, and a K/BB rate of 3.64 while averaging 238 innings a season.
And beyond what he brings to the mound, Shields is a positive force in the clubhouse as well, as Davis can attest.
"He had a huge impact on me personally and everybody around us," Davis said.
The Royals will be pinning their hopes on getting all that and more from Shields in 2013.