Oct 21, 2014; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Royals starting pitcherJames Shields
(33) reacts after the first inning during game one of the 2014 World Series against the San Francisco Giants at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports
Let’s start with the amount of money that is reportedly on the table. At five years, $100+ million, we are looking at at least $20M a season for a player that will be on the decline before the contract expires.
The Astros have pitching talent in the minors. Adding Shields would be nice for 2015, but over the final four years, he wouldn’t have the same impact, and would hardly be worth $20M per season. With the team being so close to finishing “the process” we’re all a little antsy. Signing Shields now would be like taking your seatbelt off on a roller coaster before the ride has come to a complete stop. Sure it sounds fun, but if you wait just a touch longer, everything will be just fine.
Having thrown 1,910 1/3 innings over his career already, how will his arm continue to hold up? While I believe that his arm will be fine, for a team that has already reached their spending limit this offseason, to go over that limit by such a large margin they would have to be certain of the player they would be getting.
His postseason numbers don’t inspire much confidence in a team that hopes to be participating in October festivities in the near future. If James Shields is your ace, you’d expect a little better return on investment than a career 5.46 ERA, which includes 2014 postseason ERAs of 7.20 in the wild card game, 3.00 in the ALDS, 7.20 in the ALCS, and 7.00 in the World Series. In five postseason starts in 2014, Shields pitched 25 innings, or five innings per start. While the superb Kansas City bullpen likely had something to do with his low innings total, the ERAs he posted couldn’t have helped his cause.
I say pass on Shields. Let’s let Jeff Luhnow send us on “the process” roller coaster ride one more season. When we come to a complete stop, this will all be worth it.