James Shields has finally signed a contract at long last. SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo reports that the right-hander has signed a four-year deal in the $72-76 million range. There is a fifth-year club option as well, and the contract is pending a physical.
The Padres had been rumored to be the heavy favorite to land Shields. GM A.J. Preller has put what appears to be the finishing touch on an off-season overhaul in which he’s added Justin Upton, Matt Kemp, Wil Myers, Will Middlebrooks, Derek Norris, Brandon Morrow, Brandon Maurer, and Shawn Kelley.
Shields, 33, will jump atop the Padres’ rotation along with Andrew Cashner. He’ll be looking to build off of a solid campaign with the Royals in which he finished with a 3.21 ERA and a 180/44 K/BB ratio in 227 innings, helping the club reach the World Series for the first time since 1985.
Clint Barmes signed a one-year, $1.5 million contract with the Padres on December 3, just before Padres GM A.J. Preller completely overhauled the roster. Here’s a look at what happened in San Diego after he signed, per MLB.com’s transactions page:
- December 18: Padres acquire outfielder Matt Kemp in a trade with the Dodgers, and catcher Derek Norris in a trade with the Athletics
- December 19: Padres acquire outfielder Justin Upton in a trade with the Braves, outfielder Wil Myers in a trade with the Rays, and sign free agent pitcher Brandon Morrow
- December 20: Padres acquire third baseman Will Middlebrooks in a trade with the Red Sox
- December 29: Padres acquire pitcher Shawn Kelley in a trade with the Yankees
- December 30: Padres acquire pitcher Brandon Maurer in a trade with the Mariners
- January 7: Padres sign free agent pitcher Josh Johnson
Barmes was aware the Padres were looking to improve, but not like that. Via MLB.com’s Thomas Harding:
“Being one of the earlier guys to sign over there, you hear from the GM that they’re going to try to make these trades and sign these guys,” Barmes said Saturday before working with a large group of boys and girls from Colorado, Wyoming and Nebraska at the Clint Barmes Top of the Nation Baseball Clinic in Greeley, Colo. “It happens every year. You hear a lot of that. But to have a guy do what he’s done has been pretty impressive.
“My agent said they were focusing on making some changes and bringing guys in. It’s definitely going to be exciting.”
As Harding says, Barmes joined the Padres before it was cool.
Barmes, 36 in March, will serve in a back-up role for the Padres. He hit a meager .245/.328/.294 in 116 plate appearances last season with the Pirates, but provides versatility with his ability to play any position in the infield.
Jeff Passan reports that the Padres are keeping that trade machine whizzing:
They had a hole at first base and Will Middlebrooks had nowhere to play in Boston, so this makes total sense. Meanwhile, the Red Sox get a catcher in Hanigan who can back up/split time with Christian Vazquez.
Hanigan, a good defensive catcher, hit .218/.318/.324 for the Rays last year. His time in San Diego lasted all of two days, coming over in that 11-player trade with the Nationals and Rays. Middlebrooks hit a dreadful .191/.256/.265 but has shown much better in the past. In San Diego, he will join a lineup that is already heavily right-handed.
Having failed to re-sign Pablo Sandoval and missed out on signing Chase Headley as his replacement, the Giants are in the market for a new third baseman.
Chris Haft of MLB.com writes that a trade is looking more and more likely because even secondary options like Jed Lowrie are no longer available on the free agent market.
Asdrubal Cabrera might be the best bet among remaining free agents, but according to Haft some trade candidates include Lonnie Chisenhall of the Indians, Casey McGehee of the Marlins, and Will Middlebrooks of the Red Sox.
Sandoval left the Giants to sign a five-year, $90 million deal with the Red Sox and Headley re-signed with the Yankees for $52 million over four years.
UPDATE: Now it sounds as if the deal is in place:
8:15 AM: There are some reports circulating that Sandoval’s agent is denying that a deal is in place. With the caveat that I literally cannot remember the last time that Jon Heyman whiffed on transaction news, we will keep you updated on this.
7:46 AM: Big day for the Sox. On the same day they are expected to officially announce a deal with Hanley Ramirez, Jon Heyman reports that the Red Sox have reached an agreement with Pablo Sandoval for five years and close to $100 million.
Sandoval had offers from both the Giants and the Padres as well, but going back to last week it seemed like Boston was his top choice.
With Sandoval and Ramirez in the fold, there is clearly a bit of a logjam in the Red Sox’ lineup. We discussed how that might be resolved earlier this morning. Short version: figure Sandoval at third base, Ramirez in left field and a trade of one or more of the Red Sox’ outfielders and/or third baseman Will Middlebrooks, most likely in an effort to address the starting pitching situation.