Padres General Manager will be busy again at this years Winter Meetings. He might be getting to work trading away more of his shiny toys from 2014 as well. According to Buster Olney, he will be shopping last year free agent prize James Shields.
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Shields had a good season in 2015 but for the money he was being paid and the expectations set it was disappointing as he watched ball after ball sail over his head and out of Petco Park. He will earn $21M each of the next three seasons with a club option for 2019 at $16 Million.
He also does have an opt-out clause after 2016, which Dodgers ace Zack Greinke recently exercised on his own contract to his own advantage by signing a 6 year $206M deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks. However, Shields would need to have a much better performance in 2016 to reap his own financial rewards and he is not getting any younger; he turns 34 on December 20th.
Shields for one has a high competitive mindset and was not satisfied with his own results last season:
“That’s kind of the way my season has gone, I’ve definitely thrown better, no doubt about it. … I go out there every five days and pitch with my heart on my sleeve. I’m going to be a bulldog out there as much as I can. I’m hoping for better things next year.”
The Padres have not decided about making Drew Pomeranz a starter or reliever, and it seems as if so far the Padres are creating more holes than filling them. Trading Shields would put another need for a front line starting pitcher as they also seek to replace Ian Kennedy in the rotation.
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So the question will be what kind of return can the Padres really get out of Shields? A team that wants to win now in exchange for two younger, less experienced starting pitchers? More prospects to build up for the future? As it stands, the only known rotation members are Andrew Cashner and Tyson Ross, with Odrisamer Despaigne still around as a fill in starter. Brandon Maurer and Pomeranz are also bullpen members who have started before but as stated the bullpen needs quality arms just as much as the rotation.
A lot could clarify those pictures this week at the Winter Meetings. Stay tuned…