DETROIT: The White Sox acquired veteran right-hander James Shields and cash in exchange for minor-league infielder Fernando Tatis Jr. and right-hander Erik Johnson on Saturday (Sunday in Manila), a move made to shore up the Sox’s bid to stay in contention in the American League Central.
Shields, 34, is 2-7 with a 4.28 ERA over 11 starts this season, his second with the Padres. That number was thrown off a bit by his last start, when he allowed 10 earned runs over 22/3 innings against the Mariners. He is an 11-year major league veteran who has pitched more than 200 innings each season since 2007.
Sox starting pitchers rank third in the American League with a 3.61 ERA, thanks in part to outstanding starts from left-handers Chris Sale and Jose Quintana. But Shields could replace Mat Latos or Miguel Gonzalez in the rotation and provide a boost with his ability to eat up innings.
Shields, who was scheduled to start on Sunday (Monday in Manila) for the Padres, has $58 million left on his contract, which includes the ability to opt out after this season. The Sox will pay $27 million of that contract, $5 million this season and $10 million in 2017 and 2018 if he doesn’t opt out. The remaining $2 million is for a buyout on a team option in 2019.
Tatis Jr., the son of former major-league third baseman Fernando Tatis, was the No. 27 international prospect last season, according to MLB.com.
The trade ends Johnson’s up-and-down tenure with the Sox, in which he went 7-6 with a 4.50 ERA over 18 major league starts. He was 2-1 with a 2.94 ERA in eight starts with Triple-A Charlotte this year.