The Dodgers Should Swoop in and Sign James Shields


During the offseason teams are expected to address weaknesses and strengthen their major league rosters. Clubs add players via free agency to fill holes that they can’t from trades, or from within their own farm system. However that isn’t the only reason to make moves. Sometimes a team should make a move simply to block another team from picking up a great player that could put them over the top.

There are several reports that the San Diego Padres are on the verge of signing right hander James Shields. Bob Nightengale is reporting that the Padres are considered the heavy favorites to land the 33-year old and a decision is expected soon. I propose that the Dodgers should swoop in and sign him. Not because they need him, but simply in order to block San Diego from getting him.

Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

We may have a serious worry if the Padres land Shields. The Padres new general manager A.J. Preller has made a series of moves this winter in order to bring the Padres back into relevancy. They haven’t been competitive in years, and the Friars made most of their moves with the focus of improving their stagnant offense. They did that by adding Justin Upton, Will Middlebrooks, Derek Norris, and of course the trade with the Dodgers for Matt Kemp. They already have a good pitching staff, fronted by flamethrower Andrew Cashner, and lanky right hander Tyson Ross. Adding a James Shields to an already potent pitching staff may just make the Padres an actual contender, instead of just a fringy wild card club like we had predicted. If they sign Shields, that would give them a front three of Shields, Cashner, and Ross, with Ian Kennedy anchoring the backend of the rotation. We already have to deal with the defending champion Giants, and having to deal with a suddenly competitive Padres club would be quite irritating.

The Padres don’t have a lot of cash though. Apparently their payroll is supposed to top out and around 105 million dollars. Remember the Dodgers are paying about 18 million of Kemp’s contract. So it is possible the Padres could have enough to bring Shields into their fold.

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  • Shields is one of the better pitchers in Baseball, and one of the last remaining top class free agents. Shields spent seven seasons in Tampa Bay where he picked up the nick name of “Big game James”, or “complete game James”, as he had a penchant for pitching in the biggest games. And of course his 22 career complete games, in which 11 of them came in the 2011 season.

    Shields then was traded to the Royals where he pitched from 2013-2014. Last season Shields posted a  14-8 record, with a 3.21 ERA in 34 starts. He posted a 7.1 strikeouts per nine rate, and a 1.7 walks per nine rate in 227 frames. He whiffed 180 an walked only 44 while putting up an FIP of 3.59 in Kansas City. Shields has a career 114-90 record and a 3.72 ERA.

    John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

    According to reports, Shields, who is a Santa Clarita native, likes the idea of pitching in San Diego close to his home in Southern California. Shields was born in Newhall, California, and went to Hart High School in Newhall. Shields made 13.5 million dollars last year with the Royals, so it is unknown as of now, if the Padres can afford him.

    Hopefully they can’t. There is also a report that the two sides may be at an impasse, and there are other clubs still in the mix for his services.

    It’s not worth the hassle of having to face him in a San Diego uniform. The Dodgers should swoop in and steal him. There is no way the Padres can outbid the Dodgers in anything, and pitching in Los Angeles would give Shields a closer proximity to his Rancho Santa Fe home.

    Sometimes the offseason is like a chess game. One club makes a move, another club makes a counter move. The Dodgers can’t allow the Padres to sign James Shields. Brett Anderson can always be moved into the bullpen. Imagine a rotation of Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, James Shields, Hyun-jin Ryu, and Brandon McCarthy. Excuse me while I clean up the drool.

    A decision should be coming sometime by the end of this weekend. The Dodgers need to checkmate San Diego before it is too late, and sign James Shields.