"I'm going to play this game until they say I can't play any more," Shields said. "Hopefully, I'll have another chance to sign another contract in four more years -- hopefully, right here."Shields alluded to the possibility he could be traded before the contract expires, but, whatever happens, he feels he has secured the futures of daughters Kayla and Ella. Shields and the former Jaimie McGovern were married on Oct. 20, 2000. "My two daughters will be set for life -- that was the main thing," Shields said, adding that he excitedly phoned his parents and brothers when the deal was completed. "That shows how much they respect me -- and how much I respect them. It's a mutual thing. "They've run me out there a lot, and the next four years, I want to do the same thing." With Rodriguez eligible for free agency after the 2008 season, Shields could be a fallback closer -- not that he's thinking in those terms. "Me and Frankie have a good relationship," Shields said. "I would like to be Frankie's setup man the rest of his career." Shields made 13 starts in 2003, but no longer gives serious thought to starting, having grown increasingly comfortable with making the eighth inning his domain. "We had him in the rotation in 2003 for a while," Scioscia said, "but he was going to be too valuable using him three or four times a week rather than one or two." Shields was 7-7 in 2006 with two saves and a 2.87 ERA, working 87 2/3 innings. He ranked fourth among American League pitchers in appearances with 74, the second highest for a season in club history behind his own standard of 78 games, set in 2005. Over the last three seasons, Shields has worked 284 2/3 innings, most by any reliever in the Majors. His 291 strikeouts over the same span rank fourth among Major League relievers. Shields enters the 2007 season with 31 career relief wins, three shy of tying the Angels' career record of 34 by Dave LaRoche. A late draft pick in 1997, in the 38th round of the First-Year Player Draft out of Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) High School, Shields has a 35-29 career record with 14 saves and a 2.81 ERA in 293 games, 14 as a starter. Shields has made 11 postseason appearances and was a member of the Angels' 2002 World Series championship team.
Lyle Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.