James Shields allowed one run on two hits in his spring training debut for the White Sox. The veteran is looking to bounce back after a terrible 2016 campaign.
James Shields made his spring training debut for the Chicago White Sox. The veteran right hander fanned two while allowing one run on two hits in two innings of work. It’s important for the 35-year-old to have a good showing if he wants to keep a spot in the rotation. At this point, it may be too early to say for sure what the starting five will look like come opening day.
The White Sox have three of the top 10 right-handed pitching prospects in Lucas Giolito, Michael Kopech and Reynaldo Lopez. However, it’s not clear where the trio will start the season. MLB Pipeline pegs Giolito and Lopez for arrival to the big leagues in 2017 and Kopech in 2018. We’ll have to wait to see how they progress this spring.
For Shields, this is a big spring for him. He could very well be pitching for a spot in the rotation. The organization hopes he can bounce back after an atrocious 2016 season but seem to have some options if he falters. For the White Sox, he was 6-15 with a 5.85 ERA, easily his worst season.
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Shields is signed through 2018 and the team holds an option for him for 2019. On paper he will make $21 million over the next two seasons. But as part of the trade that brought him to the south side, the San Diego Padres will pickup $10 in both 2017 and 2018. San Diego is also on the hook for his $2 million buyout in 2019. That makes his contract a little easier to stomach if you’re the White Sox.
The best thing for this organization would be for Shields to have a decent season. Of course they would love for him to return to form. But if he could show he still has some gas left in the tank, he could become another trade chip.
They may not get a huge return but he would be a guy they could get a prospect or two for, if he’s pitching well. Come playoff time, he could be an asset to a team looking to sure up their bullpen or in need of another starter. He has post-season experience, which is always a plus for a rival club.