Padres News: James Shields Clears Waivers

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Leading up to the Trade Deadline, Padre fans were set up to expect anything. Names like Justin Upton, Craig Kimbrel, and James Shields were said to be on the trading block. Shields has reportedly cleared waivers and can now be traded freely to any team, according to ESPN’s Buster Olney. 

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Upon being signed, James Shields became the highest paid free agent in Padre history. Yes, he was signed at age 33. Yes, he had a back-loaded contract and at age 36 probably won’t be worth $21 million. But the signing was very exciting and unexpected.

But the former Kansas City ace has been a major disappointment. In his last start, the mighty Phillies pounded out three after the Padres mounted a three-run lead. True aces, men who are signed to $75 million contracts shouldn’t be having games like that.

While that could have been written off as one bad start, Shields has been a disappointment all year. His 3.75 ERA is a bit deceiving as he has posted a 4.21 FIP. Shields just cannot keep the ball in the yard as he has given up 1.5 HR/nine innings – almost twice as high as over the past couple years. His walks per nine (3.1) is almost twice as high as in his last year. These are not good trends.

However, despite his disappointing 2015 the Padres signing the Shields to a back-loaded contract is likely the main reason no one team claimed the righty. It will be a tough selling point.

General Manager A.J. Preller will have to eat some of Shields’ contract in order to get a good amount of value back. Granted, the goal of trading Shields might be more aimed at dumping salary.

If Shields is to be traded, where could he go? Well, the Yankees can never be counted out of the mix, especially considering the moves Toronto made at the deadline.

With C.J. Wilson out for the season, the Angels might very well be interested as they are fighting for their lives against the Houston Astros.

If Preller is willing to trade within the division again after the Matt Kemp fiasco, the Giants could be a suitor.

Otherwise, one could expect a younger team that is expected to do well over the next couple or few years that is looking for veteran leadership. Being that the Astros went out and got Carlos Gomez and Scott Kazmir, they don’t seem to be a likely trade partner.

The other young team to watch out for would be the Pirates. A.J. Burnett is on the 15-day DL. Left in his place is a hole that has only a few bad options for solutions. With Shields and if Burnett is healthy, the Pirates could have four solid starters going into the post-season, which sounds a great deal better than just a couple plus an iffy Burnett.

However, it may very well be that Shields does not get traded. The contract is too back-loaded especially considering his 2015 performance. Preller might also be afraid of trading away a big free agent he just signed fearing that other free agents might be less inclined to sign in the future. Frankly, it doesn’t seem like Preller is afraid of anything. Regardless, after six straight losses, it should be even more blatantly obvious that the Padres are out of the playoff hunt.

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