Padres News: James Shields is ready to take charge


The addition of James Shields, to an already formidable San Diego Padres staff, will be a huge part of their success. He is ready to lead the team and he does it by example.

Jerry Crasnick senior writer from spoke to Darren Balsley, AJ Preller and Bud Black about the addition of Shields and what he means to the San Diego Padres. Balsley’s comments about Shields:

"“The first thing he said to me before guys took their physical exams was, ‘We are going to give you 200 innings apiece.”Balsley also said “We have younger guys like Andrew Cashner and Tyson Ross who are pretty dominant starters but have limited amount of starts in the major leagues.It’s good for them to see a guy go out there and really show what a workhorse is. It’s contagious when guys start competing against each other and want to log innings. That’s what we need. ”"

Darren Balsley is widely known as one of the best, if not the best pitching coach in the majors. Team that with former pitching coach and current manager Bud Black and you have two expert teachers of the craft of pitching. Shields is commonly among the league leaders in innings pitched. Eight straight years of 200 plus innings pitched. He goes out there and shows what a leader is every fifth day.

AJ Preller spoke about his toughness and his ability to hopefully sustain his workman like seasons:

"“You say, ‘OK, eight years with 200 innings pitched,’ and you can look at it both ways. We debated it when we were talking about James, and obviously we’re betting that there is quite a few more years of that left.When you study it, there’s nothing definitive that say, Once you turn 33 and have a certain amount of innings, that’s the end of the day. You look up and see guys — and they’re still doing it.We think with James’ makeup and athleticism, he’s going to be a guy who’ll take the ball for us the next four years in San Diego.”"

The fact James Shields has been so consistent is ironically what hurt his value. Obviously AJ Prelller had some justifiable concerns. When you look at his eight straight seasons of 200 innings, critics point to the fact he is due to slow down. You would think that, right? Well that’s the modern analytical way of thinking that dominates baseball.

For instance, Max Scherzer gets a seven-year contract in the excess of 210 million dollars. Has he been as consistent as Shields? No, Scherzer has only topped 200 innings twice in his six full years of major league service. Ironically the last 2 seasons, before a big payday.

Yes, he is younger but is two years younger, really worth three times the money? I wrote more about value, and the Washington Nationals distorted view of it. Check it out.

Ultimatley the Padres decided he was well worth the money. He is an absolute bargain at the price they paid for him. Compare Shields $75 million dollar deal for four seasons to what the Los Angeles Dodgers paid for Brandon McCarthy, four-years, $48-million dollars. For a franchise that just throws away money (Brian Wilson, Alex Guerrero, ext.)….. I would be angry!

Kansas City Royals general manager Drayton Moore spoke very highly of James Shields. He talked about the swagger and toughness Shields brought to a young staff. The intensity and the fact he brings out the best in everyone has no stat. These absolute intangibles can’t be measured by baseball analytics. Heart and desire are what makes this go game tick. The game is played with great instinct and James Shields provides leadership to this Padres team.

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