Padres News: James Shields Leaves No Doubt About Padres Being Contenders


Listening to MLB Network’s coverage on the San Diego Padres‘ signing of James Shields this afternoon, nearly every analyst agreed that Shields signing with San Diego was a perfect fit for him and the team. Almost every point emphasized Shields’ leadership and ability to make the Padres rotation even better. 

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San Diego Union Tribune writer Kevin Acee lamented this same point in his most recent article about Shields. He states, “…they needed someone else to count on, a reliable arm attached to a guy who knows how to work through the tough stretches. They have that now.”

Besides leadership and ability, Shields brings consistency and durability to this Padres’ rotation who’ve been called upon almost every year to keep the team in games because of lackluster offense. By the time the time August and September hits, the starters are struggling and the bullpen is lacking the same dominance it had toward the beginning of the season.

As Acee points out, the signing makes the others in the rotation better. Andrew Cashner no longer will have the pressure of being the number one starter. Despite injuries over the last couple of years, Acee does believe that Cashner has the ability to throw over 200 innings in a season and one reason is that he can concentrate on his game rather than being perfect every time out. However, Cashner’s durability still remains a critical question.

The Padres staff has thrown the eighth fewest innings in baseball, while Shields has logged an average of 200-plus innings in each season over the course of his eight-year career.

The Padres no doubt improved the offense when they brought in Matt Kemp and Justin Upton. Baseball writers throughout took notice and began to speculate if the Padres could win the NL West outright over the Dodgers and Giants, but lingering questions remain. Cashner, Tyson Ross, and Ian Kennedy make-up a strong rotation, but many still felt they would fall short down the stretch. With A.J. Preller’s signing of Shields, the Padres have become instant contenders removing any speculation of whether they can compete when it matters most in late August and September.

Next: How Will James Shields Fair Against The NL West?

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