There has been some recent news about the Boston Red Sox and San Diego Padres talking trade regarding James Shields. The Red Sox are obviously built to win it all now, so it makes sense. They acquired David Price to anchor their rotation, but behind him in the rotation there are a lot of unknown factors. Shields could easily help them.
Joe Kelly, Clay Buchholz and Rick Porcello are the Sox next three starters behind Price. Buchholz has been plagued by injuries and inconsistency throughout his career. Right when you think he is about to take a major stride forward, something stunts his growth. He is a troubling young pitcher indeed. Very capable, but in all reality you don’t know what you are going to get from him every time he toes the rubber.
Porcello was traded for and signed long-term before the 2015 season by the Sox. He has been in the league seemingly forever, but is still only 27 years old. The Red Sox for some reason decided to give him a four-year/$82.5 million dollar deal. Very controversial at the time, as Porcello hadn’t really had a track record of success. He was 76-63 as a Tiger with a 4.30 ERA in his career and I guess that dignified a $20 plus million dollar a year contract. Porcello responded by going 9-15 with a 4.92 ERA for the Sox. Not exactly the return you want on your investment. Porcello is not a strike out pitcher, and it is difficult seeing him have success through the duration of the contract.
Joe Kelly was acquired by the Sox from the Cardinals at the trade deadline in 2014 with outfielder Allen Craig for pitcher John Lackey. The 28-year-old Kelly, had an up and down year for the Sox going 10-6 with a 4.82 ERA in 2016. He has struggled with inconsistency so far in his brief career. Factor in that the right hander has never thrown over 134 innings at the professional level. How much production can you really count on from him?
The rest of the Sox rotation possibilities include young Henry Owens and veteran Steven Wright. Owens is a decent prospect. He should make the team in the bottom half of the rotation. Wright is a 31-year-old veteran who has three years of major league experience with the Sox, but isn’t a great option for the contending team.
To put it simply, behind David Price the Red Sox have nothing but question marks in their rotation. The consistency of James Shields would be huge for this team. He would be an automatic to eat up 200 plus innings and a return to the American League could be beneficial for the right handed pitcher. The Sox need pitchers that will help ease the pressure off of Price and Shields is more than capable of that.
So what would it take to get a deal done? The Red Sox farm system is deep but do not expect to get Yoan Moncada, Rafael Devers or Andrew Benintendi for Shields. Those are the Sox top three prospects and each are unattainable for Shields. The value on Shields is not exactly skyrocketing after a less than stellar 2015 season. He went 13-7 with a 3.97 ERA in 33 starts and 202 innings pitched. Not horrible numbers, but the Padres expected way more. He also gave up a National League high 33 home runs last season, which was easily his career high.
When James Shields was a free agent last year, Red Sox weren’t interested, believing his fly-ball rate was too… https://t.co/8awXawIF05
— Scott Lauber (@ScottLauber) March 25, 2016
The two teams do matchup really well in a potential trade. You could even see Andrew Cashner as a possible trade candidate for the Sox. The Red Sox need starting pitching and Cashner is only under contract for the 2016 season. In fact reports on Friday indicate the Red Sox are talking to the Padres about a starting pitcher.
ESPN’s Scott Lauber reports the two teams have talked, but that James Shields is certainly not the only pitcher the Red Sox have discussed acquiring from the Padres. He states that Shields high fly ball rate would not work in Fenway and that the Sox should not pursue him. Like always there are several different opinions about what each team should do.
Tyson Ross makes sense for the Sox, but I just don’t think the Padres and Sox can come to an agreement on him. It would take a huge return for Ross, probably as much as what the Sox paid for Craig Kimbrel, if not more. A deal in which the Sox eat the contract of Melvin Upton Jr. may work, but the Padres would still command a very highly touted prospect or two in the deal. Tyson Ross has a ton of value and I just don’t see the Red Sox decimating their farm system even more for him. Who knows. If the Sox offer enough, the Padres could be tempted. Stranger things have happened.
The Padres should be active in the trade market. They could do something before the season starts or they could be active around the trade deadline. This is a huge year for the Padres. Not necessarily for what happens on the field, but for what kind of moves the front office makes. With six high draft picks and international money to be spent the Padres farm system is sure to be stocked up soon.