Padres introduce James Shields after finalizing 4-year, $75M deal
James Shields lives in an exclusive enclave in northern San Diego County in the offseason, so he followed with interest as Padres general manager A.J. Preller revamped the roster with big-name position players.
On Wednesday, the workhorse right-hander became the finishing touch to Preller's overhaul, signing a $75 million, four-year contract that's the biggest free-agent deal in club history.
"We're going to try to bring a championship to San Diego," Shields said during his introductory news conference. "I believe, if I'm not mistaken, it would be the first one ever in San Diego. I'm up for that challenge."
The 33-year-old Shields has pitched in two World Series, with Tampa Bay in 2008 and Kansas City last year. So a World Series championship would be a first for him, too.
Whether the Padres reach the World Series soon remains to be seen. Preller, the first-year GM, has at least given the Padres the chance to be competitive with the December trades for sluggers Matt Kemp, Justin Upton and Wil Myers, as well as Derek Norris and Will Middlebrooks.
Now he's got Shields as well.
"He is a throwback in today's game," said manager Bud Black, whose 15-year big league pitching career included helping the Royals win the 1985 World Series.
Shields, who has pitched at least 200 innings in each of the last eight seasons, projects to lead a rotation that also includes Tyson Ross, Andrew Cashner and Ian Kennedy. Several players will compete for the No. 5 spot during spring training.
"At the beginning of the offseason I'm watching the moves A.J.'s making. It's incredible, the change," Shields said. "The teams that I was looking at, I knew that they were going to win and win now. That's what I loved about San Diego and what the ownership's doing right now is they have that win-now mentality. Not only now, but in the next four, five years. I'm looking forward to doing my part."
An All-Star with Tampa Bay in 2011, Shields is 114-90 with a 3.72 ERA in nine seasons.
Shields was 14-8 with a 3.21 ERA last season. He lost both of his World Series starts against San Francisco, outdueled each time by series MVP Madison Bumgarner.
Shields declined a $15.3 million qualifying offer from the Royals.
Shields will make $10 million this season and $21 million each year from 2016-18. The Padres hold a $16 million option for 2019, or a $2 million buyout.
The $75 million for Shields matches the $75 million the Padres owe Kemp during the next five years as the biggest outlay to one player in team history. The Dodgers will pay $32 million of the remaining $107 million on Kemp's contract.
Before the Kemp trade and Shields signing, the previous-biggest deal in Padres history was the $52 million, three-year extension they gave Jake Peavy after he won the 2007 National League Cy Young Award. The Padres never paid a penny of that deal, however, because Peavy was traded to the Chicago White Sox in July 2009, a season before the extension kicked in.
The team's biggest previous free agent deal was the $30 million, three-year deal Brian Giles signed in December 2005 to return to the Padres after testing the market.
Shields was traded from Tampa Bay to Kansas City two years ago in a deal in which Myers, then the Royals' top prospect, was acquired by the Royals.
By signing Shields, the Padres lose their first-round pick, 13th overall, in June's amateur draft. The Royals get an extra pick after the first round.
To make room on the 40-man roster, the Padres designated right-hander Aaron Northcraft for assignment.