Jon Lester may be Plan A, but James Shields wont be that far behind.

While most are rightfully focusing on the Red Sox chances of bringing back Lester via free agency, according to sources, the team will be eyeing the current Kansas City ace, a familiar name in American League East circles, this offseason.

Shields wont get the haul of a Lester or Max Scherzer, but it is not out of the realm of possibility that a four-year deal is in the offing for the 32-year-old righty. (He will be turning 33 in December.)

It should come as no surprise that any run at Shields wont come cheap, but, according to those who know him best, he might be the best alternative if the Sox miss out of on Lester. And if the Red Sox want to go all ’10 offseason, the combination of the two would seemingly seal the Red Sox‘ resurgence.

Just ask Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon, who had to live through his team dealing the pitcher who had helped the Rays to the postseason in 2008, ‘10 and ‘11.

“You knew he would still be good for years to come,” said Maddon prior to his teams game against the Red Sox Friday night. “There was going to be no drop-off. He’s still absolutely young enough. He’s kind of in the prime right now of what he’s doing. He takes such great care of himself. He’s so highly competitive. And the ancillary benefits to the rest of the staff are incredible because of the way he is.”

While the built-in caution for Shields remains pitching on a contract while in his mid-30′s, there is plenty to identify as reasons why he will be a worthy offseason target.

On the field, Shields has been remarkably consistent, currently trending toward pitching more than 200 innings for an eighth straight season. His ERA for ‘14 is 3.45, coming off a ‘13 campaign in which he totaled a 3.15 mark.