We knew this day would come. James Shields was an experienced, expensive pitcher on a San Diego Padres team that is about as far away from competing in 2016 as you can be. The White Sox on the other hand, are desperately trying to prolong their early season success. What better way to do that than with pitching?
James Shields is a 34-year old, ten year veteran of the major leagues. He’s compiled nearly two thousand strikeouts over the years and has pitched in the World Series for two different teams: The Tampa Bay Rays in 2008 and the Kansas City Royals in 2014. Shields is a reliable, grizzled veteran and someone who brings playoff experience to a White Sox rotation that lacks it.
In return, the San Diego Padres received twenty-six year-old right-handed pitcher Erik Johnson, a second-round pick in the 2011 draft, and seventeen-year-old shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. — son of the only man to ever hit two grand slams in one inning in the MLB. Johnson has scuffled a bit during his brief tenure in the majors and Tatis Jr. profiles as a borderline-elite prospect. It remains to be seen whether or not he will outgrow short and need a move to third base or the outfield.
The Padres will also pay $27 million of the remaining $53 million left on James Shields contract.
I’m just not sure the White Sox should be this excited to bring Shields in…
Welcome to Chicago, James Shields! pic.twitter.com/FDCnUtCdwl
— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) June 4, 2016
While I understand what Chicago White Sox general manager Rick Hahn is trying to do here, I disagree with the move. The White Sox are simply adding a middle to back-of-the-rotation guy to their staff who cannot be counted on to produce down the stretch or in the playoffs. Shields has struggled in San Diego… how can he be expected to do any better in a treacherous AL Central? With home games in the band box that is U.S. Cellular field and facing some brutal American League lineups again, I don’t exactly see great outings in Shields’ future. The man is literally coming off a start where he allowed ten (yes, 10) earned runs in less than three innings… again! James Shields gives up home runs at an alarming rate.
Even though the White Sox did need to add some pitching behind ace Chris Sale and Jose Quintana, I don’t know if James Shields is the guy to get the job done for them. Tatis Jr. could have been used to bring in a more valuable piece to solve their playoff puzzle.