The Padres haven’t had a lot of positives to talk about during the first couple months of the 2016 season. Now even trading away costly veteran James Shields might hurt the franchise down the road beyond the field.
Padres Executive Chairman singled out Shields after his poor start last week before trading him away just days later, showing that not only did the Padres regret their decision to sign him, they weren’t willing to stand behind James Shields the person either.
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James Shields was disappointed to leave the Padres after hoping to bring about real change for the franchise – but how he left managed to secure a bad taste in his mouth about the organization as a whole.
As he talked about with Dan Sileo on The Mighty 1090: ““I think the way that I left was definitely disappointing, it’s disappointing in the organization itself.”
"He added on: “I think (Fowler) was wrong by singling me out, and I think anybody will say the same thing. I think I had eight quality starts going into the game. I think I was one behind the league leader. I think I had a 3.00 ERA. I wasn’t getting the run support that I would like, but if you look at any of my comments prior to that, any one of my losses, I always took the blame for my team. I never pointed fingers. I never called anyone out.”"
He is absolutely right. As I wrote the day after the trade, Fowler is entitled to be upset. The passion he has for fielding a winning team is great – and he has been part of a rare San Diego sports ownership team that is willing to put the money where their mouths are.
However, singling out players when they don’t deserve to be singled out – is horrible for the franchise and will certainly affect other players in free agency and even arbitration eligibility hearings.
As the Padres look to rebuild they need to figure out who will be the core and who are the filler players. Clearly Shields was brought in last year to win in 2015 – though why the Padres thought they needed to offer a long-term deal that no one team was willing to offer is beyond me. Matt Kemp fits the expendable-with-big-contract category, and Melvin Upton Jr.as well.
Shields did exactly what we expected him to do in San Diego. He led the team in innings, strike outs, and brought at least an intensity that was missing from the team. Tyson Ross and Andrew Cashner both were pushed by Shields last season and Cashner is quietly putting together a decent season so far in 2016 while Ross is just beginning his rehab.
The Shields trade needed to happen – probably last off-season. The fact that it had to end up being a black eye for an organization that is looking to the future more than the present makes for an unfortunate ending to the James Shields era in San Diego.