Back when James Shields signed his big contract, 4-years /$75 million dollars, he was expected to be at least a number two, if not, the true ace of the San Diego Padres. Since that contract he has not quite lived up to expectations.
Last year, Shields posted a 13-7 record with a 3.91 ERA and pitched 202 innings. The bad news, unfortunately, he gave up 31 home runs and allowed a career high 81 walks. This year is the same story, if not worse.
So far, to the start of this 2016 campaign, Shields is 2-6 with a 3.06 ERA. Either way you look at it, Shields has been nothing more than a disappointment. Surprisingly however, the influx of young pitching by the Padres organization might make you smile.
So far this year, not Big Game James Shields, but the “Other Guys”(Pomeranz, Vargas, and Erlin) have been the better starting pitchers. Let’s start off with Drew Pomeranz. He has arguably been the best offseason acquisition the Padres could have made.
Trading Yonder Alonso to the Oakland A’s for Pomeranz and a player to be named later (Jabrari Blash) seemed like a stupid trade, but who is laughing now? Pomeranz is having an N.L. CY Young Campaign type of year posting a 4-5 record with a 2.48 ERA and on pace to strikeout a career high amount of batters.
Cesar Vargas, who was called up from Double-A San Antonio, has surprised everybody thus far with his overall pitching performances. His record nor his ERA show him as being great, posting a 0-3 record with a 5.03 ERA. A combination of offspeed stuff and location, would see him as an up and coming Greg Maddux.
Next, Robbie Erlin, who had a cup of coffee with the Padres last season, also came up this year. This year he had a 1-2 record with a 4.02 ERA before getting hurt. Clearly, that’s Erlin’s best ERA of his career. All signs are pointing in the right direction with The Young Guys and pointing south with Big Game James Shields.
Bottom Line, James Shields performance and his contract do not add up to a great signing by Padres General Manager A.J. Preller. However if the Padres can trade him by the trade deadline and get him off the books, then that would be a miracle. It would help pave the way for more cap space and provide the team with the ability to acquire more veterans in the future. Meanwhile, these young, inexpensive guys that the Padres have are being groomed and have the potential to be good, if not great.