Infinite trade speculation

The X Man Cometh

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Also worth nothing that Sandoval's contract runs a year longer than Shields. Given the age of the roster, it would be easier to swallow Shields as a 4th or 5th starter than it would be to swallow Sandoval as a bench player or no-bat 1B.
 

johnnywayback

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Guys. James Shields has a 5.42 career ERA in Fenway Park. It would be one thing if there was no obvious reason why he might be a bad fit for the ballpark -- then you could just say, wow, even though it's not a particularly small sample size, it must be a coincidence. But that's not the case. He's a bad fit for Fenway Park because he gives up a crapload of home runs -- 33 last year. He's also 34 years old, and last year his walk rate more than doubled.

"James Shields" is no longer a very good pitcher. His best skill is not getting injured. He is a slightly better Wade Miley. And we (correctly) traded Miley because, given our starting pitching depth, that's not a skill we have particular need for.

Meanwhile, "James Shields making half his starts in Fenway Park" is a terrible pitcher, not just worse than Joe Kelly or Rick Porcello, but likely worse than Henry Owens or Roenis Elias. Adding him to the rotation at the expense of any of our current options (including the ones currently in Pawtucket!) would make the team worse.

I know a lot of us just hate the idea that our favorite team employs a fat person who doesn't seem appropriately apologetic about the fact that he's fat, and it's appealing to think of any way to get out of the commitment. But given the shape of our roster, way overpaying a marginal bench piece (or, hell, just eating the money) would be better than trading for James Shields.
 

Savin Hillbilly

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The wrong side of the bridge....
If the Sox can move Panda for Shields straight up, I do that in a heartbeat. Let Shaw play 3b (with Brock being the backup play if Shaw doesn't work out), and have Sam Travis possibly ready to fill in at 1b should something happen to Hanley. Shields can take Rodriguez' spot in the rotation for the time being, which gives them, what, a month, to figure it all out. Something will happen such that they'd probably need six legit starters anyway.

Shields vs. Porcello, FWIW...

Career era+, whip, k/9
Shields: 109, 1.23, 7.8
Porcello: 96, 1.36, 5.8

Last three seasons era+, whip, k/9
Shields: 115, 1.25, 8.1
Porcello: 98, 1.29, 6.8

Last season era+, whip, k/9
Shields: 93, 1.33, 9.6
Porcello: 87, 1.36, 7.8

In other words, in no world is Rick Porcello better than James Shields, even with Shields' down year last year. The only real argument to be made for Porcello is that Shields is at a point age-wise where he may be experiencing the big decline, while Porcello is young enough still to expect improvement. But based on track record, it's not really close. Even last year Shields, while not good by his usual standards, was still better than Porcello.
You left out this part:

Shields: 34 yo with notable velocity drop over the course of 2015
Porcello: 27 yo with slight velocity uptick in 2015 vs. 2014

I mean, no one would ever dispute that Shields has been a better pitcher than Porcello. And it's quite possible that he will continue to be a better pitcher than Porcello over the next three years. But there's pretty good reason to doubt it. And anyway, since we're not trading Porcello for Shields, adding Shields to the mix means adding another high-salary, must-start guy to the rotation, which means that unless they can find a trade taker for Buchholz or (less likely) Porcello, one of Rodriguez or Kelly will be forced to the bullpen or Pawtucket once Rodriguez is back. I don't like that idea, and it seems especially perverse given that the Sox appear to have pretty good SP depth, and much more questionable depth (for now) at 3B. I'm a big Travis Shaw fan, but handing him the keys to 3B with nothing but Holt and Deven Marrero for backup makes even me nervous.

Believe me, I'd love to see the back of Panda, but sometimes what we want is not a good idea, and this may be one of those times.
 

Tyrone Biggums

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It might not even be Shields but at this point you have to think that DD is trying to package Rusney and Panda to see if anyone will bite
 

PrometheusWakefield

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Meh, that 17.6% HR//FB screams bad luck to me, which is why all the projection systems have Shields doing pretty well in 2016. E.g. Steamer has Shields at 2.8 wins, Zips at 3.1, etc. By xFIP it's hard to find a more consistent pitcher in MLB. I don't buy that Fenway could make more than a few points increase in HR/9. And his Fenway numbers are obviously biased by the fact that he pitched for the Devil Rays during some years when we had some great offenses.
I know a lot of us just hate the idea that our favorite team employs a fat person who doesn't seem appropriately apologetic about the fact that he's fat,
Dude, he was the worst player in baseball last year.

You know why the Padres are interested in Sandoval? It's because they are a stupid team who doesn't care about defense. The Red Sox are currently projected to have the 2nd worst team defense in MLB at third base, thanks to Panda and his big fat ass. He belongs on the Padres.
 

PrometheusWakefield

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The other option in a bad contract for bad contract swap would be Sandoval for Kemp. Kemp has 4/$86m left on his deal, with the Dodgers currently paying ~$25m of that. Moving Kemp might open up playing time for Jabari Blash, and maybe Kemp's defensive deficiencies are reduced by playing in Fenway next to JBJ.
 

RedOctober3829

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With the news of Holt being the platoon partner with Chris Young, I would start shopping Castillo around. Castillo isn't tied to DD, so he doesn't have an obligation to see if Castillo can do anything here.
 

NDame616

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With the news of Holt being the platoon partner with Chris Young, I would start shopping Castillo around. Castillo isn't tied to DD, so he doesn't have an obligation to see if Castillo can do anything here.
Castillo can still go to AAA. I'm not sure how much value he has with his contract and the fact they publicly announced Brock Holt beat him out this spring.

You could get 10 cents on the dollar for Castillo. Best thing you can do is store him in AAA and see if he can start hitting and crack the ML roster or at least up his trade value.
 

moondog80

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It might not even be Shields but at this point you have to think that DD is trying to package Rusney and Panda to see if anyone will bite

Package them? I think we're getting greedy. Why not throw in Porcello?
 

nvalvo

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The other option in a bad contract for bad contract swap would be Sandoval for Kemp. Kemp has 4/$86m left on his deal, with the Dodgers currently paying ~$25m of that. Moving Kemp might open up playing time for Jabari Blash, and maybe Kemp's defensive deficiencies are reduced by playing in Fenway next to JBJ.
I would consider accepting Kemp. He's played 150 games two straight seasons, and just posted a .265/.312/.443 line in Petco, which is not bad. He'll be 31 this season.

His defense would be an issue, as you indicate.
 

InsideTheParker

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When MLBN says that HOLT will start the season in LF, it is understood that he's in a platoon with Young for that spot? I thought that HOLT had a mild reverse split and hit lhp well.
 

Sprowl

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When MLBN says that HOLT will start the season in LF, it is understood that he's in a platoon with Young for that spot? I thought that HOLT had a mild reverse split and hit lhp well.
Yes, but Young hits LHP much, much better. Young should be in the lineup against every LHP in baseball.
 

johnnywayback

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Meh, that 17.6% HR//FB screams bad luck to me, which is why all the projection systems have Shields doing pretty well in 2016. E.g. Steamer has Shields at 2.8 wins, Zips at 3.1, etc. By xFIP it's hard to find a more consistent pitcher in MLB. I don't buy that Fenway could make more than a few points increase in HR/9. And his Fenway numbers are obviously biased by the fact that he pitched for the Devil Rays during some years when we had some great offenses.

Dude, he was the worst player in baseball last year.

You know why the Padres are interested in Sandoval? It's because they are a stupid team who doesn't care about defense. The Red Sox are currently projected to have the 2nd worst team defense in MLB at third base, thanks to Panda and his big fat ass. He belongs on the Padres.
I mean, pitchers are consistent until they aren't. A 34-year-old guy coming off a year in which his command worsened, his velocity declined, and he gave up "a nearly historic level" of home runs in Petco Park seems like a poor bet to remain consistent over the life of his current, expensive contract, even if you're right that pitching in Fenway, where the best way to lose is to do exactly what Shields does (give up a lot of fly balls to LF and CF) wouldn't have serious consequences.

Moreover, if you want to shrug off Shields's declining peripherals and proven record of terrible performance at Fenway (and it's not our offense -- he pitched fine against the Red Sox in his own home ballparks), then it seems weird not to acknowledge that Sandoval's true talent level is probably not "the worst player in baseball." In any event: It seems very likely that, at age 29, Sandoval will rebound -- certainly not to his 2011 peak, and maybe not even to his last very good season in 2014 (when he was a 3-win player), but enough to be worth more to the team than Shields, particularly considering that Sandoval is displacing Deven Marrero and Shields would be displacing one of a number of pitchers who could easily be better than him.
 

PrometheusWakefield

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Dave Cameron suggests swapping Castillo for Upton.

What I find odd about his post is the implication that the Red Sox are really happy with HOLT as the actual answer in left field, whereas it seems to me the team would be better off keeping him as our super utility guy and having a real left fielder.

Kemp (4/$72m) and Shields (3/$65m) for Castillo (5/56.5m), Sandoval (4/$75) and, lets say, Sam Travis? Who says no?
 

InsideTheParker

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Is that a New England colloquialism I missed because I moved to California years ago?
It refers to this:
The title is a reference to a fragment attributed to the ancient Greek poet Archilochus: πόλλ' οἶδ' ἀλώπηξ, ἀλλ' ἐχῖνος ἓν μέγα ("a fox knows many things, but a hedgehog one important thing"). In Erasmus Rotterdamus'sAdagia from 1500, the expression is recorded as Multa novit vulpes, verum echinus unum magnum.
My use was playful and very casual, a short-hand for saying I prefer him as a utility infielder.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Hedgehog_and_the_Fox
 

Sprowl

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True, but we don't know if he's more of a hedge for JBJ against lefties.
I wouldn't count on it -- I think Young is an adequate corner outfielder, but a very poor centerfielder. Also, JBJ's career splits show him hitting LHP slightly better than RHP. If Bradley takes a rest, I'd rather see Holt playing CF than Young.
 

simplicio

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Kemp (4/$72m) and Shields (3/$65m) for Castillo (5/56.5m), Sandoval (4/$75) and, lets say, Sam Travis? Who says no?
The Sox, I'd hope. Both Kemp and Shields are downgrades from what we have in place, they cost more than Castillo and Sandoval, and Sam Travis has real potential. We'd be better off sending Castillo to AAA and Panda to the toilets with a cellphone for 162 games.
 

The X Man Cometh

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I mean, pitchers are consistent until they aren't. A 34-year-old guy coming off a year in which his command worsened, his velocity declined, and he gave up "a nearly historic level" of home runs in Petco Park seems like a poor bet to remain consistent over the life of his current, expensive contract, even if you're right that pitching in Fenway, where the best way to lose is to do exactly what Shields does (give up a lot of fly balls to LF and CF) wouldn't have serious consequences. Moreover, if you want to shrug off Shields's declining peripherals and proven record of terrible performance at Fenway (and it's not our offense -- he pitched fine against the Red Sox in his own home ballparks), then it seems weird not to acknowledge that Sandoval's true talent level is probably not "the worst player in baseball." In any event: It seems very likely that, at age 29, Sandoval will rebound -- certainly not to his 2011 peak, and maybe not even to his last very good season in 2014 (when he was a 3-win player), but enough to be worth more to the team than Shields, particularly considering that Sandoval is displacing Deven Marrero and Shields would be displacing one of a number of pitchers who could easily be better than him.
There are reasons to think Shields is in decline. But you could make a similar argument about Sandoval, whose wRC+ has gone down every year for the past five years, who has lost the athleticism necessary to play in the field, who relies on O-contact% at the plate, a skill which has been shown to decline precipitously in the late 20s, and who was the worst qualified player in baseball last year. Why should we have any faith in Sandoval to rebound but not Shields?

Sandoval could exceed worst player in baseball status this year, just like Shields could exceed #4-#5 pitcher. But a Mileyish back of the rotation starter who'll eat 180 innings, and who comes off the books a year earlier, is a much more palatable baseline expectation than a guy who might not be the worst player in baseball.
 

johnnywayback

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Sandoval could exceed worst player in baseball status this year, just like Shields could exceed #4-#5 pitcher. But a Mileyish back of the rotation starter who'll eat 180 innings, and who comes off the books a year earlier, is a much more palatable baseline expectation than a guy who might not be the worst player in baseball.
The floor for Shields isn't #4-#5 pitcher. In fact, that's probably closer to the ceiling. The floor is that he'll pitch so badly in Fenway that he would be a worse option than at least five guys currently in the organization for our #5 slot -- and, indeed, that is how badly he has pitched in Fenway throughout his career, even before the decline that began last year.

The calculus on all this might be different if, say, we had Rafael Devers pounding on the door but no rotation depth. But our roster situation is the opposite. We have nine legitimate options for the rotation, at least five of whom I'm willing to bet will be better than even my 50th-percentile expectations for Fenway Shields. If we ditch Sandoval, and Shaw's two month breakout isn't real (or his defense turns out to be lacking), and/or if we end up needing Holt elsewhere on the diamond, then we'll have Deven Marrero playing 3B.

Even without the Fenway factor, you're gambling on a bounceback with either guy. But Sandoval is five years younger, has shown the ability to bounce back from bad years before, and, maybe most importantly, doesn't have a ready replacement on the roster.
 

Adrian's Dome

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The floor for Shields isn't #4-#5 pitcher. In fact, that's probably closer to the ceiling. The floor is that he'll pitch so badly in Fenway that he would be a worse option than at least five guys currently in the organization for our #5 slot -- and, indeed, that is how badly he has pitched in Fenway throughout his career, even before the decline that began last year.

The calculus on all this might be different if, say, we had Rafael Devers pounding on the door but no rotation depth. But our roster situation is the opposite. We have nine legitimate options for the rotation, at least five of whom I'm willing to bet will be better than even my 50th-percentile expectations for Fenway Shields. If we ditch Sandoval, and Shaw's two month breakout isn't real (or his defense turns out to be lacking), and/or if we end up needing Holt elsewhere on the diamond, then we'll have Deven Marrero playing 3B.

Even without the Fenway factor, you're gambling on a bounceback with either guy. But Sandoval is five years younger, has shown the ability to bounce back from bad years before, and, maybe most importantly, doesn't have a ready replacement on the roster.
Why are you hellbent on focusing on a small sample size and subset of Shields' career rather than the entire body of work? James Shields has been a good (and consistent) pitcher for a very long time, and to directly lump him behind unproven and/or inconsistent pitchers like Kelly, Owens, Wright, and Elias is ridiculous. Secondly, if in your scenario we ditch Sandoval, Shaw sucks, and Holt is needed elsewhere and we're down to #4 on our possible 3B depth chart, well, I'd first categorize that as entirely unlikely, and I'd like to see any teams have good scenarios in place for 4th options.

Trading a bad contract for a bad contract is exactly that, but I'd rather bet on the guy that's been better recently and more consistent over the course of their respective careers, than the guy that was the worst position player in baseball just last year, is in a straight 5 year downward trend, and showed up looking terrible this spring. Especially when the former guy has one less year of commitment on his deal.
 

InsideTheParker

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Trading a bad contract for a bad contract is exactly that, but I'd rather bet on the guy that's been better recently and more consistent over the course of their respective careers, than the guy that was the worst position player in baseball just last year, is in a straight 5 year downward trend, and showed up looking terrible this spring. Especially when the former guy has one less year of commitment on his deal.
That's how I feel, and I am wondering what are the chances that SD really wants to make this trade?
 

chawson

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If we're imagining an elaborate Sox/Padres trade, Nick Vincent and his career 1.59 FIP vs. RHHs could be pretty useful as a Carson Smith back-up plan.

Amazing this is like the eighth MATT KEMP TO BOSTON??!? scenario this board's hatched the last 10+ years. He's like Godot.
 

Corleone

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Pitchers are going to give us wins, we're capitalizing Veteran Arm like we're Winnie the Pooh, and capital P Pitching and capital D Defense win games.

I should probably get off your lawn.

I don't really give a damn about Pablo Sandoval or James Shields, but Shields was pretty mediocre last year, is due to be paid 21 million for each of the next three seasons, and oh yeah, can opt out after 2016. Meanwhile, Sandoval is something like five years younger and the standard for being a decent bat at third really isn't that high.

I'm kinda thinking we should see some real games before we go messing with the roster.

Last year we saw many real games and the liability that was Sandoval.

No thanks, I'll pass on giving this player a mulligan.
 

scotian1

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With the way this spring training has gone, it is so obvious that another starter is needed. I am hoping for more than Shields though more will have to be given up.
 

Rasputin

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With the way this spring training has gone, it is so obvious that another starter is needed.
This is not remotely true.

There's been one injury that isn't expected to be long term and his presumed replacement has been pitching well. The guy at the top pitched really well. Joe Kelly pitched really well. Clay Buchholz had one bad outing.

You're basically saying that because Rick Porcello had a bad year and a bad spring, we need a new pitcher when you know damn well that Eduardo Rodriguez is coming back fairly soon and he could just as easily replace Porcello as Wright and you know that we have good depth options.

Also, and you know this, it's SPRING FUCKING TRAINING!
 

Rasputin

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Apparently not for Rusney Castillo
Believe me, I think the whole thing in regards to Castillo is pretty stupid, but at least with him, you have the fact that he's never had anything resembling sustained success at the major league level. With Porcello, you have seasons of ERA+ of 93, 96, 113 before 2016 and while 93 and 96 aren't awesome, they're decent and the 113 is obviously what the Sox were banking on when they gave him the extension. Castillo doesn't have that.

I'm also wondering if people are forgetting that Porcello ended up with an ERA+ of 87 last year. That's certainly not good and certainly not work the contract extension, but I think a lot of people forget that Porcello ended things pretty strongly last year. It's like people turned off the season in July. Rick Porcello had a 5.81 ERA after his start on July 29 and went on the DL with I-Don't-Know-What-The-Fuck-Is-Going-On-Here-itis but he came back and had an ERA of 3.14 in August and September to bring his season ERA down to 4.92.
 

TheoShmeo

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Believe me, I think the whole thing in regards to Castillo is pretty stupid, but at least with him, you have the fact that he's never had anything resembling sustained success at the major league level. With Porcello, you have seasons of ERA+ of 93, 96, 113 before 2016 and while 93 and 96 aren't awesome, they're decent and the 113 is obviously what the Sox were banking on when they gave him the extension. Castillo doesn't have that.

I'm also wondering if people are forgetting that Porcello ended up with an ERA+ of 87 last year. That's certainly not good and certainly not work the contract extension, but I think a lot of people forget that Porcello ended things pretty strongly last year. It's like people turned off the season in July. Rick Porcello had a 5.81 ERA after his start on July 29 and went on the DL with I-Don't-Know-What-The-Fuck-Is-Going-On-Here-itis but he came back and had an ERA of 3.14 in August and September to bring his season ERA down to 4.92.
I think most people know well that Porcello finished strong. We can debate whether late season extended garbage time numbers have the same merit/value analytically as his craptastic numbers before the Sox were effectively eliminated. (The same could be asked about the universally loved David Ortiz, I know.) Those saying that the numbers mean exactly the same thing would probably have the better side of the argument. But whether you apply a discount or not, I think it's a matter of looking at the entire season -- dismal as a whole -- and noting his horrendous spring. Alex Speier had a piece in the Globe in which he noted several other Sox starters who were around this bad in ST; several continued their stench during the regular season and only Lackey and Porcello (while on the TIgers) turned it around once the games started to count. My point is not to overstate ST numbers. It's that the overall picture regarding Porcello in Boston includes a beginning that was so bad that they had to shut him down for a while, a hot finish and a terrible spring. What you are reading reflects a full memory of all of that, I believe.
 

RedOctober3829

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This is not remotely true.

There's been one injury that isn't expected to be long term and his presumed replacement has been pitching well. The guy at the top pitched really well. Joe Kelly pitched really well. Clay Buchholz had one bad outing.

You're basically saying that because Rick Porcello had a bad year and a bad spring, we need a new pitcher when you know damn well that Eduardo Rodriguez is coming back fairly soon and he could just as easily replace Porcello as Wright and you know that we have good depth options.

Also, and you know this, it's SPRING FUCKING TRAINING!
Buchholz has 9 years of a track record that says he'll either pitch well and break down or straight out stink why would you put any faith in him to break that trend? He's had 1 year out of 9 that he both stayed healthy and pitched well(2010). Joe Kelly hasn't had a decent season since 2013 so he has a ton to prove. Rick Porcello is a complete unknown at this point. Are we getting the Porcello from 2014(which was only slightly above league average) or the disaster that was last year? At his best, he's a league average or slightly better. The 2nd best pitcher(Rodriguez) won't even be back until May and who knows how long it will take to get back to form.

To put it lightly, the starters beyond David Price are one collective question mark.
 

Smiling Joe Hesketh

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How would adding James Shields change that? Even if you are bullish on Shields; his age, career Fenway results, and last season's decline are legitimate question marks.
Shields is exactly the type of guy that nimrods like Nick Cafardo salivate over without taking a look at his deeper issues. Cafardo sees 13-7, 3.93 ERA and goes SQUEE! But the only real positive Shields has going for him is durability. He's a 34 year old pitcher with tons of innings on his arm. He gave up 33 HRs last year (leading the NL) despite pitching in a home park that's the best pitcher's park in baseball (park factor of 95 last year, 93 multi-year factor). His ERA+ was only 93. His FIP was 4.45 in 2015, meaning he got lucky to boot. In his career his K rate in the AL is only 7.7, in the NL it's 9.6, meaning he's been feasting on pitchers and the crappy #8 hitters in NL lineups.

Frankly, I'd rather have Porcello. He was awful last year, but 1) his awfulness still resulted in an 87 ERA+, only a little worse than Shields' 93, 2) he's much younger than Shields, and 3) even with the bad year last year his Fenway numbers are much, much better than Shields'.
 

Yelling At Clouds

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I don't think I would trade for him, but given the composition of the rest of the rotation behind Price (an already-injured guy and three guys who missed time last year), I would argue that Shields's durability is a legitimate selling point in his favor. This team could probably use someone in addition to Price who can be counted on to throw a lot of innings and save the bullpen. I don't know that Shields should be that guy, though.
 

RedOctober3829

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How would adding James Shields change that? Even if you are bullish on Shields; his age, career Fenway results, and last season's decline are legitimate question marks.
It wouldn't change my mind other than Shields is a better bet that most to at least give 200+ IP. If he came on a cheaper contract it's another situation but the last thing this team needs is another bad contract to saddle themselves with.
 

Adrian's Dome

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Nobody here actively likes the proposal of taking on James Shields alone. That he's an aging pitcher on a bad contract is one of the few things everybody can and will agree on.

It's weighing the acquisition with the potential of being rid of Sandoval that makes it intriguing.
 

moondog80

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Who says no to Kemp +Shields for Pablo+Rusney? No money changes hands.

Kemp: 73 mil/4 years
Shields: 65 mil/4 years
Pablo: 77 mil/4 years
Rusney: 60 mil/5 years
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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I don't think I would trade for him, but given the composition of the rest of the rotation behind Price (an already-injured guy and three guys who missed time last year), I would argue that Shields's durability is a legitimate selling point in his favor. This team could probably use someone in addition to Price who can be counted on to throw a lot of innings and save the bullpen. I don't know that Shields should be that guy, though.
If a good bet to go 200+ innings is what the team needs, perhaps they shouldn't have dealt away the only guy from last year's rotation who gave them that.

*By no means am I advocating that they should have kept Miley given the return they received.
 

moondog80

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The Padres?

I'm not so sure. Dan Szymborski looked at the 25 worst contracts in MLB in February (insider only), based on ZIPS projections, and ranked Kemp 4th, Pablo 6th, and Rusney 21st. Shields did not make the list but presumably didn't miss by much. I think the value is pretty similar, it's just a matter of whether you think the players involved are better fits on the opposite roster. For the Sox, I'd take my chances that Shields will be at least average and Kemp can be passable in LF for a year and then DH (this assumes Hanley can be passable at 1B or at least hit well enough to recover his trade value). For the Padres, Rusney will at least give them good D in CF and they have nothing at 3B.



http://espn.go.com/mlb/insider/story/_/id/14827368/albert-pujols-tops-list-baseball-biggest-albatrosses-worst-contracts-mlb