On Wednesday James Shields and the San Diego Padres inked a $75-million deal. The veteran right-hander will be playing on the sunny west coast for the next four years.
Earlier in the off season there was some talk about the Red Sox pursuing Shields. After the Sox officially missed out on Jon Lester when he signed with the Chicago Cubs, it seemed that the Sox would need to go after a starting pitcher. James Shields’s name must have come up in the conversation at some point.
The 33-year old from California has a 3.72 ERA over his eight seasons in the major leagues. He went to the All Star game in 2011 while playing for the Tampa Bay Rays. He started a league-leading 34 games during both of his seasons with the Kansas City Royals. In 2013, his first season with KC, he pitched 228.3 innings.
There is no doubt that Shields is a workhorse. There is also no doubt that the Red Sox could stand to gain at least one more high-caliber starting pitcher. But at what cost? Shields’s $75 million dollar price tag was just too steep for Boston. The Padres felt it was worth the investment as Shields is now the highest priced acquisition in the team’s history.
As Shields settles into his new home in San Diego, the question still remains regarding what the Red Sox will do for starting pitching. Truck Day is Thursday and Spring Training is rapidly approaching. Every day it seems more and more likely that the Sox will not make any additions to their starting rotation. Will Clay Buchholz, Rick Porcello, Wade Miley, Justin Masterson, and Joe Kelly be enough to get the Red Sox back out of the AL East basement? Only time will tell.