Boston Red Sox

Boston Red Sox

Monday, August 10, 2015

Is a James Shields/Pablo Sandoval Trade a Possibility?

Padres righty James Shields has cleared revocable trade waivers, ESPN’s Buster Olney reports. This means San Diego is now free to deal Shields to any team.

What does this mean for the Boston Red Sox​? Well, maybe they could pursue a swap of bad contracts with the Padres, sending Pablo Sandoval to San Diego in exchange for Shields.

Teams routinely, and quietly, place players on waivers in August (especially high-priced veterans) to gauge the interest of other teams.

A big-league player must pass through revocable waivers before his team can trade him without restriction. These waivers last 47 hours. If no one claims him in that period, his team can trade him anywhere.

Given the size of Sandoval's contract, and his performance this season, it is highly unlikely that any team would claim him.

The Padres outbid the Red Sox for Sandoval last offseason, yet the free agent third baseman chose Boston anyway.

The Red Sox may prefer to have a high-priced, veteran pitcher (albeit an aging and overpriced one) anchoring their staff for the next few seasons, rather than an overweight, overpaid third baseman who is in longterm decline.

The 33-year-old Shields is owed roughly $2.25 million for the remainder of this season, and then $21 million in each of the next three seasons, plus a $16 million club option (with a $2 million buyout) for 2019.

This means Shields is guaranteed at least $65 million from 2016 through 2018.

The righty can opt out of his deal following the 2016 season, meaning the Sox could make a move thinking they’d only be committed to Shields for little over a year.

However, Shields will turn 35 in December 2016, so he’s more likely to stick with his current deal since teams may be hesitant to pay a pitcher $44 million guaranteed for his age-35 and age-36 seasons.

Shields is battle-tested in the AL East, having pitched for Tampa for seven seasons (2006-2012).

Over 10 seasons, Shields has a 122-94 record, with a 3.72 ERA, 1.22 WHIP and 1,786 strikeouts through 2,056.2 innings, amounting to 3.56 Ks per walk.

The 29-year-old Sandoval is under contract for the next four seasons, with a club option for 2020.

Sandoval is owed $17 million in each of the next two seasons, and $18 million per season in 2018 and 2019. There is a $17 million club option for 2020, with a $5 million buyout.

In total, Sandoval is guaranteed at least $75 million through 2019.

San Diego needs a third baseman (Will Middlebrooks didn't pan out), and Boston needs a veteran starter.

Such a deal could make sense for both organizations.

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