The White Sox are willing to trade away righty James Shields, according to Jon Morosi of MLB.com (via Twitter). Shields has split his season between the Padres and the South Siders, who acquired the 34-year-old earlier in the summer.
The swap that brought Shields to Chicago also re-allocated his salary. San Diego is still on the hook for $31MM of the sizable outlay, leaving the ChiSox responsible for around $27MM from the point of the trade (June 4th) forward. Point being: the heavy lifting of re-valuing his contract has already been accomplished. Shields does still have opt-out rights following the season, which is increasingly relevant, though that doesn’t appear to be a major factor in his potential market.
Of primary importance for teams looking to bolster their rotation is the fact that Shields has been quite effective of late. His overall numbers with Chicago aren’t pretty, but that’s heavily influenced by his first three outings in the new uniform — all of which were more or less disastrous.
Since turning in a decent start on June 23rd, Shields has taken the hill six times without allowing more than two earned runs. Though he isn’t generating many strikeouts, and hasn’t regained any of his lost velocity, the veteran has averaged a robust seven frames per outing in that span and has ably managed contact.
While it’s still difficult to imagine a particularly significant return for a pitcher who is no longer the top-of-the-rotation starter, or even the mid-rotation starter, that he once was, it’s not hard to imagine interest developing. Shields is bidding for a remarkable tenth-straight season with 200 innings, is a highly-respected veteran, and has some post-season experience, so there’s added value beyond his current, on-field ability.