Padres Editorial: How Will James Shields Fare in the NL West?
By Tim Richer
Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports
By now everybody has heard the news that James Shields has reached an agreement with the San Diego Padres on a four-year deal worth around $75 million with a club option for a fifth year. A lot has been made of his moniker “Big Game James” and his postseason struggles, but the Padres have to reach the postseason before he has a chance to back up the name. In the interim the real “big games” Shields will be pitching in for the Friars will be games against the NL West. There’s going to be some stiff competition in the division with the defending World Series Champs, the Giants, the reigning NL West winners, the Dodgers, one of the leagues best offenses from a year ago, the Rockies, and a young lineup with some powerful bats, the Diamondbacks.
So how will Shields fare against these tough lineups? We can look at his past history to try to find out what the future may hold for him. First I looked at his career numbers against each team, then his numbers at each team’s respective park and then his numbers against each player in each team’s projected lineup. I got the lineups from MLB.com’s depth chart page for each team, so the lineups won’t be perfect, but it’s the best that be done at this point in the off-season. Since Shields has pitched his entire career in the American League, the sample sizes will be small, but it will still give us some insight on the future.