James Shields Signing With San Diego Padres Says A Lot About New York Yankees


It looks as if the New York Yankees have missed out on another big-named free agent, this time to the San Diego Padres. It was being reported Sunday, and into Monday morning it became official, according to SB Nation, that James Shields will become a member of the Padres.

Shields will be receiving a four-year $72-76 million contract, with a fifth-year club option as well. This is the largest contract in the history of the Padres, surpassing the three-year $52 million contract that was given to Jake Peavy during the 2007-2008 season. There is nothing in writing yet between Shields and the Padres, but Shields and his agent Page Odle verbally agreed Sunday.

This raises an interesting question about the Yankees, namely are they no longer the big kids on the block when it comes to free agency? The Yankees used to make huge splashes year in and year out in free agency, signing every and any big named player they wanted to monster contracts. Just last season, after saying they wanted to drop payroll, handed out over $438 million in new contracts. That doesn’t even include Robinson Cano, who the Yankees deemed too expensive as he signed a shiny new $240 million contract.

This, in effect, makes two offseasons in a row the Yankees were outbid for big-name free agents by smaller market, notoriously low budget teams. A contract in the $72-76 million range is child’s play for the Yankees, as they handed out three alone last season, while that was a franchise record for the Padres. Last season, it was the Seattle Mariners who took Cano from the Yankees, ponying up the extra money needed while the Yankees balked, instead investing it in Jacoby Ellsbury, Brian McCann and Carlos Beltran; moves most Yankees fans regret and wish Cano was back in town.

The contract that Shields signed with the Padres is very fair for both sides, and one the Yankees should have put more effort into. Shields has been a workhorse since 2007, leading the MLB in innings pitched at 1,785 ⅔ innings over that span. He brings stability to a rotation, as you know what you’ll be getting from him, something that cannot be said about the rest of the projected Yankees’ rotation, which is littered with question marks and injury concerns.

The veteran right-hander is yet another move in a litany of them that the Padres have made this season, looking more like the Yankees than the actual Yankees. They revamped their roster, adding high-priced Matt Kemp, former Rookie of the Year Wil Myers, and another high priced outfielder in Justin Upton, who is actually up for a raise after the season. These are the types of moves we had come accustomed to seeing the Yankees make, but recently things look to be changing in the free agent landscape.

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Some of that has to do with so many players flopping after receiving big-money contracts; look at the Los Angeles Angels with Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton. Teams are realizing it is more beneficial to grow talent in house, as the Angels also see with Mike Trout. But sometimes you need that infusion of veteran talent in free agency to help get this started, and it is definitely weird for baseball fans to see the Yankees swinging and missing so often in free agency recently. They are not necessarily upset at the ‘Evil Empire’ showing some chinks in their armor,

The Yankees will have another chance to redeem themselves in a way, with young Cuban shortstop Yoan Macada. It will cost a lot for the Yankees, as well as any team, to sign Mocada, and it will be interesting to see if they will pony up the necessary amount of money to bring him on board.

The Padres are reportedly holding a workout with Macada, and will once again look to sign another big name free agent away from the Yankees. The Padres will not be the only team that will attempt to sign Mocada from the Yankees as they attempt to try and ring in their payroll still.

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