Report: San Diego Padres Land James Shields
By Billy Brost
Per a Tweet from SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo, the San Diego Padres have won the James Shields free agent sweepstakes. The team had offered the right-hander a four-year deal, for between $75 and $80 million dollars, with a fifth-year option. With the signing, the Padres will forfeit their #13 overall draft selection in this year’s draft to the Kansas City Royals as compensation for Shields’ declining their one-year offer.
Per Cotillo, the two sides have indeed agreed to the four-year contract offer along with the fifth-year option, pending a physical. This move could be the final major piece for first-year GM A.J. Preller, who in less than one off-season, has done more to make the Padres contenders in 2015 than anyone in the past 40 years of Padres’ baseball. Shields will join Andrew Cashner, Tyson Ross, and Ian Kennedy to make up one of the strongest front-four pitching rotations in all of baseball.
Shields, 33, pitched previously for the Kansas City Royals, leading them to last October’s Fall Classic, in which they fell to the Padres’ NL West rival, the San Francisco Giants in seven games. Shields’ deal with the Friars according to the original report, is for somewhere between $72-$76 million dollars.
The Padres were in competition for Shields’ services in recent weeks, along with the Miami Marlins and the Chicago Cubs–who were looking to pair Jon Lester with another veteran of the AL East battles from years gone by. Shields has been an innings-eater, averaging more than 200 innings per season in each of the past seven years, and posted a respectable 3.21 ERA in 30+ starts with the AL Champion Royals in 2014.
Preller may not be done however, as Cuban second baseman Hector Olivera is still on the team’s radar, but as it sits now, the Padres look loaded to compete not only in their own division, but for possibly a National League pennant in 2015. In recent days, Padres’ CEO Mike Dee has stated that Preller has ownership’s permission to spend as needed in free agency, along with going after whatever international talent he deems necessary to put the Friars over the top.
In 11 big league seasons, Shields has a career mark of 114-90, with an ERA of 3.72. He earned the nickname “Big Game James” due to his outstanding performance in helping the Tampa Bay Rays win the AL pennant back in 2008. His postseason numbers weren’t all that impressive in appearances since, but the Padres obviously felt the need to add someone of Shields’ pedigree to an already strong starting rotation and pitching staff. Shields joins newcomers Matt Kemp, Wil Myers, Justin Upton, Derek Norris, and Will Middlebrooks, in an attempt to re-energize baseball in American’s Finest City, and A.J. Preller has done everything in his power to ensure that happens.
Stay tuned to Friars On Base in the coming days, as we provide reactions, insights, and analysis of the James Shields’ signing, with only weeks to go before pitchers and catchers report to Arizona for the start of spring training.
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