Padres News: Does James Shields Have NO Trade Value?

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Mandatory Credit: Getty Images
Mandatory Credit: Getty Images

There has been recent activity on Social Media that suggest the San Diego Padres have no chance of dealing James Shields if the club wanted to. To some people he has zero trade value, but could this really be true? Does the ace-like pitcher have no value and is he deemed a “bad contract”?

Truth be told, Shields had a horrible year last year. Padres fans had huge expectations for the right hander and he failed to live up to them. The Padres team in general failed miserably, but was James Shields to blame for the Padres deficiencies? Most certainly not, Shields cannot control the play of his teammates. The failures of the 2015 Padres were a complete team effort.

James Shields had a 13-7 record last season with a 3.91 ERA and a 1.334 WHIP. He was unusually wild in and out of the strike zone as he gave up a league leading 33 home runs and also walked an uncharacteristically high 81 batters. He did however strike out 216 hitters in 202 innings pitched for the Padres. His stuff is still very lively, but simply put the troubles of the 2015 Padres led to Shields trying to do too much out on the mound.

The game of baseball is 100 percent mental. If you do not have the right preparation or mind-set you will get eaten alive. From time to time last season, Shields looked really rattled by both the Padres play and his ability to give up the long ball. Petco Park has traditionally been known as a pitchers ball park, but Shields still gave up 19 homers there. Not a great stat for the first time Padre.

Looking at the Shields contract you will see he only made $10 million last season and is due for a huge raise the next three seasons. Shields is due to make $21 million for the next three seasons with a $2 million dollar buyout for the 2019 season. That is $65 million in guaranteed money for an aging pitcher coming off a down year. This right here is why people are saying his contract is bad and the Padres will have no chance of dealing him. Of course his value is tarnished but it is not as though he is hurt. The man still competes every start for his team.

Mandatory Credit: Getty Images
Mandatory Credit: Getty Images

The financial constraints on Shields contract are huge for a potential trade but they are by no means horrible. $21 million is a hefty raise for the right hander, but he still has above average stuff and could easily be a great addition for some team. The fact James Shields has made every start in his career is very impressive. In this day and age where pitchers continually fail to stay healthy, he has remained both healthy and consistent.

The bottom line is Shields is not an ace pitcher. He does not have that type of stuff. He is very capable of beating any team on any night, but he is not a true ace. Major League franchises are aware of that and the Padres will have a hard time selling teams with Shields inflated contract.

In stead of focusing on Shields as what he isn’t, how about people focus on what he provides. He obviously provides a fantastic leadership quality to the starting staff. Shields goes out there and battles every start and that has tremendous value. Ask the Phillies about Cliff Lee or the Yankees about C.C. Sabathia. Paying a pitcher that type of money and having them hurt is disheartening to say the least. Shields contract is hefty but he does everything he can to justify it every time he toes the rubber.

So is Shields a “bad contract” and are the Padres stuck with him? While his value has taken a hit and he is due a raise, James Shields still possess some trade value. If the Padres attempt to move him, they shouldn’t have trouble finding a suitor. Especially after the free agent class starts to sign around the league. Once spring training starts, and a huge market team feels deficient in the starting pitching department, the Padres will surely be able to move a starting pitcher like James Shields.

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