Colorado is hoping to re-sign free agent left-hander Jorge De La Rosa, but if his demands prove out of their price range Troy Renck of the Denver Post reports that the Rockies will look to trade for Rays right-hander James Shields.
Many teams would be smart to target Shields, because he pitched much better than his ERA suggests this season with secondary numbers (strikeouts, walks, ground-ball rate) that show an overall performance closer to a 4.00 ERA than his actual 5.18 mark.
However, the Rockies may be one of the few teams that shouldn’t be in the mix for the 28-year-old starter. Shields’ biggest weakness is that he’s an extreme fly-ball pitcher, posting one of the 10 highest fly-ball rates in the league during the past three seasons and leading the league in homers allowed this year. Moving from the AL to the NL might help cut down on the homers, but calling Coors Field home for half his starts would just be a bad idea.
Twins right-hander Phil Hughes is headed to the Padres, according to announcements from both teams on Sunday. The Padres will also receive the 74th overall draft pick and cash considerations from the Twins, who are getting minor league catcher Janigson Villalobos in return. Minnesota is expected to absorb $7.5 million of Hughes’ $22 million contract; per MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand, they’ll take on his remaining salary for the 2018 season and pay an additional $5.7 million in 2019.
Hughes, 31, is far from the 16-win, sub-4.00 ERA hurler the Twins enjoyed in 2014. He hasn’t pitched more than 60 innings in any season since 2015, due in part to multiple bouts of back stiffness and shoulder surgeries. He was designated for assignment last week after missing significant time with a left oblique strain and delivering a 6.75 ERA, 3.8 BB/9 and 6.0 SO/9 through his first 12 innings of 2018.
Villalobos, meanwhile, will provide the Twins with some depth as he continues to work his way through the minor league system. The 21-year-old backstop recently completed a circuit with the Padres’ rookie-level affiliate in the Arizona League, slashing .275/.367/.388 with eight extra bases and a .755 OPS in 98 PA.
The real get for the Padres isn’t Hughes (even with much of his salary already accounted for), but the Competitive Balance B selection in next week’s amateur draft. As MLB.com’s AJ Cassavell points out, the club lost their second-round pick after inking Eric Hosmer to a massive eight-year, $144 million deal back in February.