San Diego Padres RHP James Shields has cleared August waivers as expected, according to ESPN's Buster Olney, and may now be shopped around by the team to anyone interested in acquiring the 33-year-old starter.
With more than $65 million in guaranteed salary remaining on his deal through 2018 and a $16 million club option for 2019 with a $2 million buyout, Shields is just one of "lots of big-contract players clearing waivers," Olney said.
With the Padres playoffs hopes flickering, GM A.J. Prelier is thought to be in the mood to provide some salary relief to a team still in the hunt for starting pitching in exchange for removing the rest of his hefty paycheck from the payroll and some prospects or, perhaps, a swap for another big-contract player who fills another need on his roster.
A 10-year MLB veteran, Shields would have to approve any deal, but it's unlikely he would block one. He's decidedly on the downswing of his career, trapped on a going-nowhere club with numbers that would look good to many teams, but must rankle one of the hottest gets in the game only last winter.
He currently throws a 3.75 ERA, 4.21 FIP and 1.285 WHIP -- all five-year highs for him --and his 24 home runs allowed are just two shy of a five-year high as well. He's lost a few ticks off his fastball, gave up three dingers in his last start and has only one win to show for his last 12 starts. A better candidate for a player in need of a change of scenery is hard to imagine.
One potential swap could be for Boston's Pablo Sandoval, whose nine home runs, 35 RBI and .257/.305/.383/.687slashline have disappointed the Red Sox in the first year of the rotund third baseman's five-year $95-million deal with a $17-million team option and $5 million buyout in 2020.
Last winter, the Padres made a strong run at signing Sandoval, who became a free agent after hitting a major league record 26 hits in the postseason and winning a World Series ring with the San Francisco Giants, reportedly outbidding both the Red Sox and Giants for his services. Over eight MLB seasons, the 28-year-old two-time All-Star has hit an aggregate .291/.342/.456/.798, including 115 home runs and 497 RBI over 3917 PA.