White Sox veteran starting pitcher ended 2017 season much better than he did in 2016. Pitcher will be in his final year of contract during 2018 campaign.
James Shields hasn’t been very popular with many Chicago White Sox fans since arriving via trade in June of 2016 from the San Diego Padres. After one of his worst seasons as a MLB starting pitcher, Shields actually had a much better finish to his second season with the Sox in 2017.
Although he still struggled with keeping the ball in the ballpark, Shields finished his 2017 season much better than he did in 2016. Shields overall numbers for 2017 weren’t stellar, but they were much better than 2016 when he nearly ended that season with 20 losses.
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This past season, Shields went 9-12 with a 5.23 ERA and a 1.444 WHIP for the Sox. In 2016, Shields went a combined 6-19 with a 5.85 ERA and a 1.697 WHIP. He was 4-12 with a 6.77 ERA through 22 starts with the Sox last season.
Shields had a good final two months of the 2017 season for the Sox. Compared to 2016 when he was trying to avoid losing 20 games, Shields pitched much better to end his second campaign with the Sox.
The veteran pitcher posted outings of no less than five innings. After a four-inning start on July 26 against the Cubs, Shields didn’t have a single outing that didn’t last five or more innings. Shields also didn’t give up more than four earned runs in any start in August or September.
In the final two months of the 2016 season, Shields had four outings that were less than five innings pitched. He also had seven starts where he gave up more than four earned runs. Shields went 1-7 in August and September of 2016, but was 3-4 in his final two months of the 2017 season.
Shields will be in the final year of his four-year contract next season. The 35-year-old pitcher originally signed a four-year $75 million contract with the San Diego Padres after the end of the 2014 season with a team option for 2019. With 2018 being his final year in a Sox uniform barring his 2019 team option being picked up, Shields could lend veteran support to a young pitching staff on the South Side. Shields most likely won’t be the same pitcher he was in Tampa Bay or Kansas City, but if he can provide stability on the mound in 2018 for the Sox, this team could have a surprisingly strong rotation next season.