Chicago Cubs: Will the team trade for James Shields?


The Chicago Cubs would like to add another starter to the mix, and ESPN’s Jim Bowden thinks it could be in the form of a trade for James Shields of the Padres.

The Chicago Cubs were once one of the key players in the James Shields lottery, only to see the San Diego Padres snatch him up in a free-spending winter by new GM A.J. Preller. Now the Padres are looking to move him, and Jim Bowden believes this could happen. By his own admission, there are no reports of this–it’s a “hail mary” of a prediction, but could this actually work?

There’s no denying the Cubs would like to add another starting pitcher, but they aren’t going to overpay in free agency, and some of the young, cost-controlled pitchers on the “market” will demand high prices. While the team is flush with talent in the minors they aren’t going to sell the farm to get a young arm. Enter the Padres.

After a “go big or go home” winter, the Padres were left with go home. The active winter didn’t lead to the result that Preller had hoped for, and now he’s looking to shop Shields in hopes of unloading the rest of that four-year, $75 million deal. Chances are the Padres will have to eat a portion of the deal to make it work. If that’s the case, the team might not have to part with a top prospect but just one of the farmhands on the fringe of elite status.

While many teams will be sifting through the non-tendered free agents to try and find a bargain deal, Preller and his desire to unload Shields’ deal could benefit a team like the Cubs. The Cubs were in the running for Jeff Samardzija but were likely unwilling to ink him to a deal any longer than two or three years. In the case of Shields, they would only have to make a three-year commitment but he would still help to improve the backend of the rotation.

Cubs skipper Joe Maddon is also a big fan of Shields leadership after managing him in his Tampa Bay days. Maddon has proven to be a pretty good judge of character. Aside from the Rafael Soriano situation, most former Maddon players have worked out well.

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Is this enough reason to make it happen? Some believed that connection with Maddon made David Price a shoe-in to come to Chicago. To be very honest, most of the “predictions” thus far haven’t come close. So while Bowden is out on a limb on this one, I can’t say I disagree with the possibility. The Cubs could get one of the top-tier free agents of last year and a discounted price this winter.