James Shields 8

James Shields, the last of the big free agent starting pitchers available this offseason finally came off the board late Sunday night with news he agreed to a four-year deal with the San Diego Padres.

After rejecting a qualifying offer from the Kansas City Royals, the expectation was Shields’ market would heat up after Jon Lester and Max Scherzer made their respective decisions. Lester signed with the Chicago Cubs in December and Scherzer with the Washington Nationals in January, but the talks for Shields remained at a whisper — at least publicly.

There were reports the right-hander had a $110 million offer in hand prior to the Padres emerging as the favorite to sign Shields. However, before he agreed to a deal with San Diego, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports Shields pursued a deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers:

According to ESPN’s Buster Olney, the Dodgers and Shields were not able to get on the same page with respects to dollar amount:

Shields’ attempt to land a contract from the Dodgers isn’t surprising considering his desire was to pitch on the West Coast. Additionally, by getting the deep-pocketed Dodgers involved, it could have driven up the price to ultimately sign Shields.

The Dodgers were reported as having expressed an interest in Shields and general manager Farhan Zaidi didn’t rule out signing him when asked about the possibility in a mid-January interview with MLB Network Radio.

While Zaidi and president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman have maintained they would explore all options that would improve the team, the signing of Shields never appeared to be a likely scenario. Rather than spend in excess of $70 million for the 33 year old, the Dodgers signed Brett Anderson and Brandon McCarthy to fill out their rotation.

Now with Shields, the Padres’ pitching staff is labeled by some as being comparable to that of the Dodgers and if 2014 is any indication, San Diego has the superior bullpen. However, the Dodgers also made strides this offseason to address that deficiency.

It won’t take long for the two teams to pit their remade rosters against one another as the Dodgers ring in the 2015 season with a three-game set against the Padres at Chavez Ravine.

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Brandon McCarthy Discusses Being Part Of The Dodgers Organization

About The Author

Matt is a journalist from Whittier, California. A Cal State Long Beach graduate, Matthew occasionally contributes to Lakers Nation, and previously served as the lead editor and digital strategist at Dodgers Nation, and the co-editor and lead writer at Reign of Troy, where he covered USC Football. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mmoreno1015

8 Responses

  1. YARRitsBLAKE

    With all due respect how is the Padres rotation comparable to the Dodgers just because Shields has signed with them now? Yes Shields definitely makes the Padres rotation better, but the Padres still don’t hold a candle to them. Maybe the only thing they have may be consistency, but even then, Cashner and Josh Johnson struggle to stay healthy (a key critique of the Dodgers signing of Anderson, and to a lesser degree McCarthy, despite the fact his bulk of time lost was from a freak accident line drive to the face). Even so, let us give Cashner the benefit of a doubt, as well as McCarthy, and consider Anderson vs. Johnson (or whoever fills the #5 spot in the Friars rotation) a wash.

    -Kershaw vs. Shields: Need I say more? Yeah Shields is good, but on many teams he is considered a fringe #1, if not a #2 type starter. Kershaw. Well, he is Kershaw. No contest.

    -Greinke vs. Kennedy: Again, no contest. While some may consider Ross the #2 starter, I think the Padres would consider Kennedy their #2 for a number of reasons. Even so, Greinke would actually be considered the #1 for most teams in the majors, but he is a #2 simply because of the presence of Kershaw. Kennedy, like Shields is good, but not great. He’d fit in as a #2, maybe fringy #1 on most competitive teams’ rotations.

    -Ryu vs. Ross: This is more even than the others, but even still it will be interesting to see how Ross performs in his second full season. Most experts feel a regression will happen primarily due to the much worse defense he will have behind him. Whereas Ryu will have a much better defense behind him. They have similar strikout numbers, but Ryu walks almost half the batters Ross does.

    Another thing lost in all this is the defense behind these pitchers now. The Dodgers infield is vastly improved with excellent defenders all around, and their outfield has excellent defenders as well. The Padres have a terrible defensive outfield, and marginal infield defenders. Almost all their positive defenders from last year are being squeezed out by new arrivals. Gone is Headley, Almonte, Amarista, and Denorfia. In are Solarte, Kemp, Myers and Upton. That outfield, is just horrific defensively. Kemp was second only to Fowler in the lowest Defensive Runs Saved, Myers is a pretty poor CF’er, and Upton has seen his defensive numbers slipping over the last three years.

    Bottom-line, I think a statement like, “Now with Shields, the Padres’ pitching staff is comparable to that of the Dodgers” is just plain misinformed and silly.

    Reply
    • Alex

      Thank you. A lineup of Kershaw/Greinke/Ryu is the best in the league. Only the Nationals can claim to be comparable.

      Speaking of defense, because PetCo Park is not home run friendly, the Padres need to have GOOD fielding outfielders with all the fly balls staying in the park. Unfortunately, this will work against them with their new defense-lacking outfield.

      Reply
      • Michael N. Norris

        Well I agree Kersh Greinke and Ryu are good, but the Nationals have 5 quality guys…we have 3 and 2 maybes. I do not trust that Anderson and McCarthy are going to be at 100% all year, In truth, we will be extremely lucky to get 20 starts out of Anderson, then what? Nicasio? no thanks the guy was a bum in Denver and he won’t be much better here. Wieland, Bedard, Huff, Bolsinger, Lee, Reed, who out of that bunch can pick up the slack? McCarthy turned a decent 1/2 year into 48 million and personally I think the front office is nuts for giving that guy that kind of cash, and he gets 17 mil this year!. Ryu and Greinke had issues last year. I am not underestimating guys, I am a realist. Neither has been that great in the past. This team is one starting pitchers injury away from being so so. And I will almost bet you Paco does not make the 25 man roster out of spring. They traded for Liberattore for a reason..He will get a major look in spring….I love my Dodgers, but sorry, there are way to many IF’s and MAYBE’s for me to get excited about any of these guys.

    • Alex

      Thank you. A lineup of Kershaw/Greinke/Ryu is the best in the league. Only the Nationals can claim to be comparable.

      Speaking of defense, because PetCo Park is not home run friendly, the Padres need to have GOOD fielding outfielders with all the fly balls staying in the park. Unfortunately, this will work against them with their new defense-lacking outfield.

      Reply
    • Jason Ungar

      Good Call on the Defense for sure and totally agree. But he said pitching staff-not rotation and the Padres were pretty much the best team in baseball from the 7th inning on last season or in top group. ERA and whip are not ideal but I imagine the advanced stats are similar in margin…but they had a 2.89 era and 1.13 Whip and we were at 3.50 and 1.24 and lower middle class. So until our new BP shows it’s stuff then advantage them. And I am hopeful as we got some good under radar bullpen arms..I think Mainstream is undervaluing the upside of Brandon McCarthy and Brett Anderson. If they can stay healthy along with the other 3 it’s over.

      Reply
      • YARRitsBLAKE

        I believe it did say rotation at first – maybe it was edited? Either way I agree that the Padres bullpen was definitely better last year. Then again, looking at the potential Dodgers’ bullpen this year, it will be a lot closer between the two bullpens. I would not be surprised if the Padres again have a better bullpen, however, the Dodgers have such a good starting rotation by comparison that it more than evens out any difference the bullpens would have.

        Our bullpen vastly improved IMO. At the very least we’ve (ERA/FIP/WHIP) swapped Peralta (4.41/3.40/1.18 – those numbers plus his K/9 and BB/9 indicate a couple bad games ruining his season ERA) and Hatcher (3.38/2.56/1.20) for Perez (4.27/5.07/1.36) and Wilson (4.66/4.29/1.61). Those are immense improvements alone. We still have Jansen and Howell who are solid. Baez looks like a great in-house option. I’d imagine Yimi Garcia is in that same boat (read the FanGraphs piece on the rotation on his fastball and how it gives him an added edge). Paco Rodriguez has a strong chance to bounce back even more to his 2013 numbers. I like our options for the bullpen – and I didn’t even list the four-six other options for the bullpen acquired through other trades (i.e. Niasco, Boslinger, Liberatore, etc).

        And additionally, I think people are indeed vastly underestimating Anderson and McCarthy. I truly believe McCarthy is fully healthy and can deliver 175-200 innings this year. If he does, do not be surprised if he puts up numbers like Phil Hughes did last year (decent mid 3.00’s ERA, low BB/9 and middle-of-the-road K/9 equally a high K/BB rate). Brett Anderson is a huge wildcard here. If he is healthy, oh man, we would have the best #5 pitcher hands down (save maybe for the Nationals). I just hope his back and arm are healthy.

  2. Michael N. Norris

    Padres may not match the Dodgers front 3, but after that , it is a crap shoot. Pads gave the Dodgers fits last season…expect more of the same from a team that now has a better chance of scoring runs.

    Reply

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