Here’s a new wrinkle to the James Shields deal:
Shields is slated to make “only” $10 million next season and it jumps to $21 million in 2016. If he opted out he’d lose $21 million salaries in 2017 and 2018 and a potential $16 million on a team option for 2019. There’s a $2 million buyout if the team doesn’t exercise the option.
When the 2016 season ends, Shields will be 35. Unless he elevates his game to unexpected heights, it seems highly unlikely that it would make any kind of financial sense for him to opt-out, any kind of deal for him at that point would not likely guarantee him $44 million over those next two years.
The Pirates are officially shutting down Chris Archer for the season, GM Neal Huntington revealed Sunday. It’s more of a formality than anything else, but, as the Pirates are currently out of postseason contention, there seems to be no point in forcing the right-hander to accelerate his recovery from right shoulder inflammation.
Archer, 30, sustained the injury in late August and was initially projected to return sometime during September. He’s been throwing from flat ground over the last several weeks, but there had been no indication that he was ready to resume starting duties for the club. He’ll end his 2019 run with a 3-9 record in 23 starts and a 5.19 ERA, 4.1 BB/9, 10.8 SO/9, and 0.7 fWAR across 119 2/3 innings pitched; not his worst performance to date, but a considerable step down from the sub-5.00 ERA and 2.6 fWAR he posted with the Rays and Pirates in 2018.
With two weeks left in the regular season, the Pirates will soon wrap up their fourth consecutive non-contending campaign. Following Saturday’s brutal 14-1 loss to the Cubs, they were mathematically eliminated from postseason qualification. They last reached the playoffs in 2015, though it’s been six years since they advanced past the wild card tiebreaker and 27 years since they advanced past the Division Series.