The accounting for a signing that was suspect from the outset is just about complete, and in the end, the San Diego Padres' signing of James Shields turned out to be a terrible and expensive miss for a team with a mid-level payroll.
Because the Royals had given Shields a qualifying offer as he became a free agent, San Diego gave up the No. 12 pick in the 2015 draft to land the right-hander to a four-year deal that was heavily backloaded. Shields had a poor season in 2015, and about 17 months after signing the pitcher, the Padres ate more than half of the remaining dollars owed to the right-hander to trade him to the White Sox on Saturday.
The complete numbers, assuming that Shields does not opt out of the last two years of his contract (after some tough times on the mound, he'd be walking away from $42 million for the 2017 and 2018 seasons): The Padres have paid $48 million for 44 starts from Shields -- in which he posted a 4.00 ERA -- along with surrendering their first-round pick. As consolation prizes, they added two minor leaguers, both ranked among Chicago's top 25 prospects. The 17-year-old Fernando Tatis Jr. was signed as a shortstop last summer for $825,000, while Erik Johnson has made 18 starts for the White Sox.
From the perspective of the White Sox: They have basically landed Shields on a three-year deal for $27 million, and for a plow horse who covers 200 innings a season -- which Shields has done for nine straight years -- that's good value. He isn't the best fit for The Cell, because of his fly ball tendencies, and he might give up a lot of homers, but consider that J.A. Happ got $36 million over three years last winter, and Marco Estrada got $26 million over two years. As such, the price for Shields was worthwhile.
White Sox GM Rick Hahn says he thinks this makes the whole pitching staff better.
From ESPN Stats & Information: With the Padres, Shields consumed innings but gave up a lot of homers.
The White Sox also are looking for a bullpen piece, as well as a left-handed hitter.