February 9, 2015
by Marty Caswell
Former general manager turned ESPN Baseball Analyst Jim Bowden joined Darren Smith on Monday to discuss the Padres signing of James Shields to the tune of four years, $75 million dollars and didn’t mince any accolades.
“For me, with all the great moves A.J. Preller has made since being GM, this is the one to me that puts them over the top. This is the move that says Dodgers, Giants, we belong with you.”
“I think this was a third place team without the Shields’ signing. I think this signing says, guys, you’re in for a race, we’re ready to go.”
Very welcome words for fans of a Padres team that has missed the playoffs the last eight years. A team that hasn’t had a true bona fide number one ace since Jake Peavy. Fittingly enough, the $75 million deal for Shields is also the highest the Padres have paid a player since, you guessed it, the three- year, $52 million dollar deal to Peavy in 2007.
Listen to Jim Bowden’s entire interview with Darren Smith HERE
Shields led the 2014 Kansas City Royals to their first postseason berth in 29 years, going 14-8 with a 3.21 ERA and 227 innings pitched. He’s been a true workhorse, averaging 200 IP or more every year since 2007. Last season, only Ian Kennedy notched 200 IP or more for San Diego. But for Bowden, the value of the 33-year old Shields goes far beyond measurable statistics.
“When you see what Shields can do, forget what he does on the field, which we all know is 15 wins, an ERA that starts with a three and innings pitched which will be around 220 or more, this guy has been very steady for a long, long time. You know what you’re getting but it’s what he does in the clubhouse that changes everything.”
“And when he went to Kansas City two years ago, you felt the impact almost immediately in spring training and the influence he had on Yordano Ventura and Danny Duffy and all those young guys, Royals don’t get to the World Series without him and this is the guy that led them. This is a motivator, this is a winner, this is a very focused individual and what he’s going to be able to do to this young Padres team beyond the numbers and beyond the starts is be the influence that can help the Cashner’s and Ross’s reach their level of stardom that they belong at so this is a great day in San Diego baseball.”
Talent matters. Leadership matters. It’s been a very long time since the Padres had several players on the team that represented both qualities. And with a whirlwind off-season that has brought in the likes of Justin Upton, Matt Kemp and now Shields, it’s hard not to get excited about what’s in store in 2015.
Bowden summed it up.
“This is the move that really tops off one of the greatest winters we’ve ever seen by a rookie GM in the history of the sport and for Padres fans, you’re relevant again. Congratulations. Go buy your season tickets as quick as possible.”
Watch- Matt Kemp talks Leadership, Chip on His Shoulder and Justin Upton
Listen to Darren Balsley on James Shields and his definition of a #1 ace HERE