With the San Diego Padres hopes of making the playoffs slipping away, it may be time for the Padres to start trading away pieces in order to retool and compete again for 2016, or go into a full scale rebuild. If a the Padres do opt for a full rebuild one name that could end up on the table is James Shields.
Are the Padres likely to offload their ace who they have locked up for five season? Of course not, but if the plan is to completely rebuild, an expensive, aging starter isn’t of much use to the Padres.
Players who are signed to long term contracts are rarely moved in the early years of their deals, but that’s largely because teams who sign big name free agents aren’t usually as bad as the Padres. Also, expensive long term deals are risky to acquire, especially for players on the wrong side of 30, because they could turn toxic at any moment. Having Shields under contract could help the Padres trade him, if only for the fact that he’s not a rental. Teams are wary of giving up any sort of talent for a two month rental, but in Shields they have a reliable arm for multiple years.
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Obviously to make a trade there has to be two to tango. The best landing place for Shields could be his former division, the A.L. East. All five teams in the A.L. East could use James Shields this year and next. The big spenders, the Red Sox and Yankees, could easily afford all of Shields contract, and they both desperately need a front line starter to add to their lackluster rotations. The rest of the division, while not having as much money at their disposal, could also use some help in their rotation if they want to have any hope of winning in October. Other teams that could have interest in Shields could be the Twins, Rangers, Angels and Cubs. All four of those teams are in the playoff hunt right now and could use help in the rotation. All of them with exception of the Twins have shown a willingness to spend big money, so taking on a contract like Shields wouldn’t be a shock.
The biggest return for Shields would be getting his contract off the books. Also, a team may need to dump a shorter contract on the Padres to help make the money work. Even though the contract will weaken the return, anything less than at least one highly rated prospect shouldn’t even be considered. There isn’t a pressing need for the Padres to move Shields, so in order to get the conversation started there would need to be something to entice A.J. Preller.
Overall, if the Padres do end up trading James Shields, it would be a surprise, but it is a possibility, albeit a slim one. Everything I’ve seen from A.J. Preller leads me to believe he’s going to try to win every single year, and if the Padres want to win in 2016, they’re going to need James Shields. If A.J. Preller keeps his philosophy of trying to win at all costs, Shields will be a Padre through the trade deadline.
What do you guys think, would you trade Shields? Who would you trade him to and for whom?
According to Peter Gammons of GammonsDaily.com, the Padres are actively contacting other clubs to get an idea of their interest in James Shields:
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