Chicago White Sox Add James Shields in Trade With the Padres
The San Diego Padres have traded struggling right hander James Shields to the Chicago White Sox for starting pitcher Eric Johnson and shortstop prospect Fernando Tatis Jr. This comes as no surprise with the Padres continuing to struggle after their many big name additions before the 2015 season. After finishing 14 games under .500 and in 4th place in the NL West in 2015, they have struggled to start the 2016 campaign and sit in last place, 11.5 games back of 1st place San Francisco.
Shields, 34, has struggled this season going 2-7 with a 4.28 ERA, but pitched decently for the disappointing team last year going 13-7 with a 3.91 ERA. However, it should also be noted that he lead the league in home runs surrendered with 33. He has shown great durability throughout his career, topping 200 innings pitched each season since 2007.
Since signing a four-year $75 million contract before the 2015 season, the richest free agent contract in team history, things have not gone the way he or the Padres envisioned them. Gone are Craig Kimbrel and Justin Upton and it is clear a rebuild is taking place, even if the front office refuses to say it. The last straw seemed to come on Tuesday, when Shields failed to get out of the 3rd inning and gave up 10 runs on 8 hits as the Padres lost for the 9th time in his 11 starts.
Padres’ executive chairman, Ron Fowler, then called Shields’ performance embarrassing to the team on a radio interview. He now returns to the AL Central where he helped lead the Kansas City Royals to the American League pennant in 2014.
For the Chicago White Sox, this was a much needed move to help solidify a starting staff that is lead by Chris Sale and Jose Quintana. Mat Latos and Carlos Rodon round out a rotation that is second in the AL in ERA and now they add an innings eater and move Miguel Gonzalez to help a struggling bullpen.
The White Sox got off to a hot start in 2016, but had troubles in May going 12-18 and falling to 3rd place in the AL Central, 3 games behind Cleveland and Kansas City. They give up a quality young prospect in 17 year old Tatis, son of former major league Fernando Tatis, who was the key to the deal for San Diego. Scouts like his makeup as he has shown raw power and great athleticism, though he may have to move to another infield position. He was signed just last summer out of Dominican Republic and was ranked as the 27th best international prospect.
In order for the White Sox to concede trading Tatis, the Padres agreed to pay a large portion of Shields remaining contract. If Shields does not opt out, which he has the ability to do after the season, the White Sox will essentially be getting him on a three-year $27 million contract.
Time will tell how this deal works out, but with Shields beginning to struggle giving up the long ball and moving from a very pitcher friendly park to U.S. Cellular Field, he may disappoint. Getting to pitch for a team who should be in the playoff race come September may rejuvenate him. Either way, the White Sox are in a win-now mode and are not risking much in this move.
(Chicago White Sox Add James Shields)