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Poll: Should the St. Louis Cardinals sign Max Scherzer or James Shields?

Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

The St. Louis Cardinals are rumored to have interest in a handful of big-name starting pitchers, as Craig broke down on Thursday morning, including Max Scherzer, David Price, and Cole Hamels. Earlier this week, on MLB Network, FOX's Ken Rosenthal guessed as part of a fun Hot Stove carnival segment, that the Cardinals would wind up signing James Shields.

Rosenthal's Shields pick is not the same as his reporting with Jon Morosi that the Cardinals have expressed interest in Scherzer, but the two are free agents and so it isn't particularly surprising that some, including our own Red Baron, have staked out the position that, if the Cards are going to spend $20 million or more in average salary for a free-agent starting pitcher, they should go whole hog and ink Scherzer.

RB's position got me to wondering about this either/or proposition. Rosenthal has reported that some MLB executives have claimed Shields has a five-year, $110 million deal in hand and is shopping it around; others believe that the righty won't get over $100 million. Meanwhile, it's apparent that Scherzer's agent Scott Boras is seeking a deal worth over $200 million for the former American League Cy Young award winner. Scherzer's contract will be the longer of the two and seems more likely to have an opt-out clause as well.

With these reports in mind, I tried to fashion a realistic contract for each pitcher so that I could ask you, dear readers, which of the two you'd prefer the Cardinals enter into, if they're going to sign a free-agent starter. Please share the thinking behind your vote in the comments. If you think my hypothetical contracts are off-base, by all means feel free to discuss that, too.