James Shields has been anything but the answer for the Chicago White Sox
Has anything gone right for the Chicago White Sox this year?
Let me rephrase that. Has anything after their 23-10 start gone right for the White Sox this year?
The short answer is no, going 11-26 since that hot start. The longer answer is that the Sox probably need a top to bottom organizational change with Rick Hahn maybe being the only safe person in all of this. The farm system doesn’t hold a ton of promise outside of Carson Fulmer, Spencer Adams and this year’s first three picks, Zack Collins, Zack Burdi and Alec Hansen.
In a league where pitching is the key to winning, the Sox are barren in either the bats to combat great pitching (see, Cubs, Chicago) or the actual arm power to compete. They don’t have any Kris Bryant’s or Javier Baez’s down on their farm on either side of the ball.
And boy, could they use one. Sure, Tyler Danish should be a solid bullpen arm in the near future and Carson Fulmer should be a solid piece in their rotation. Carlos Rodon will probably figure out whatever weird mojo is going on with him right now and maybe return to the form he showed at the end of last season. But they don’t have a bonafide stud to add to their roster to help their pitching staff.
Because James Shields sucks.
Too harsh? Well, that’s the reality of the situation. Shields has been historically bad.
I don't know if the White Sox can justify giving James Shields another start. 8.2 IP, 24 H, 9 BB, 21 ER. That's a 21.81 ERA. Simply insane.
— Bryn Swartz (@eaglescentral) June 18, 2016
James Shields has had a rather forgettable last 4 starts. pic.twitter.com/NUmcgrAYZx
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) June 18, 2016
White Sox have used 17 relievers in James Shields 3 starts.
— Chuck Garfien (@ChuckGarfien) June 19, 2016
The ironic thing is that Shields was brought into the fold as a guy that was supposed to eat some innings and Shield – if you will – the bullpen from throwing out their collective arms. But he’s been God-awful to this point in his career as a South Sider and the Sox really can’t justify sending him out for another start.
FanGraphs broke down his struggles in this portion of his career. Here’s a sample:
This could be a whole post of fun facts. The numbers are that extraordinary. I’ll try to limit myself, because the fun facts aren’t the point. But, all right: over his last four starts, Shields has allowed a total of 32 runs. Jake Arrieta has allowed a total of 32 runs over his last 30 starts, covering more than 200 innings. Shields, since his last game with San Diego, has yielded a 1.441 OPS. Barry Bonds, in 2004 — when he walked more than 200 times — finished with a 1.411 OPS. James Shields has strung together four starts of turning the opposition into prime Barry Bonds. This is James Shields, of the James Shields Trade.
Maybe a stint in the bullpen as a long reliever will do him some good. Maybe that’s where he belongs as he winds down his career. This, however, exposes the Sox’s lack of pitching.
This is gonna be a long season, Sox fans. At least they have Chris Sale?