White Sox: James Shields could join 200-inning club against Indians
In his three seasons in Chicago, White Sox fans have had a love-hate relationship with veteran pitcher James Shields.
The long-time pitcher has had mixed results in his time on the White Sox roster.
His Tuesday night start against the Cleveland Indians could be his final outing in a White Sox uniform and this start could land him in elite company.
Entering the game on Tuesday night, Shields pitched 198.2 innings in 2018. If he can go at least 1.1 innings, he will reach the 200-inning milestone. The last time Shields pitched 200 or more innings, he was a member of the San Diego Padres. The first time he pitched 200 innings, he was 25 years old and pitching for the Tampa Bay Rays. He consistently pitched 200 or more innings in every season between 2005 and 2015.
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This milestone used to be common for starting pitchers. Now, not so much. When Shields reaches 200 innings in tonight’s game, he will join three AL pitchers and four NL pitchers. Max Scherzer, Corey Kluber, Jacob DeGrom, Justin Verlander, Aaron Nola, Zach Greinke, and Dallas Keuchel have already all pitched at least 200 innings.
When Shields is finished on the mound, he should pass Keuchel and Greinke, who each have 201.2 innings pitched. He could also pass Nola, who has 205.1 innings pitched. Verlander and the rest are safe, as they all have at least 208 innings pitched.
After this game against the Indians, Shields will not only pass the 200-innings mark, but he will also most likely never wear a White Sox uniform again. His contract with the team does not expire, but the White Sox have a favorable $2 million option to buy out his contract. Otherwise, he has $16 million team option.
While this sounds like a ridiculous amount, it is actually less than the $21 million that he made in 2016, 2017, and 2018. The Padres paid his complete salary in 2016 and covered $11 million in both 2017 and 2018. The Sox will be on the hook for all of Shields’ future salary if the team keeps him. It is rather safe to expect that the Sox will spend $2 million to let him enter into free agency at the end of the season.
Whether you love or hate Big Game James, pitching 200 innings is a feat that only healthy pitchers can accomplish in a season. Unfortunately, he does have a league-leading 16 losses, but he also has his lowest ERA since joining the ChiSox at 4.48. Whatever happens with Shields after Tuesday’s game, we wish him all the best.