Chicago Cubs: A quality addition at a low cost? Maybe.
Essentially, the Cubs would have to pay Shields very little if they acquire him for the rest of 2018. Furthermore, they would not have to retain him, as his contract includes $2 million buyout for 2019.
Between his 2018 contract and potentially buying him out, the Cubs would not pay much if they acquire Shields. The White Sox would likely not demand much back in a trade, too.
If the Cubs could acquire Shields for just a low-level prospect, they have to consider it. Even if it is not Shields, the team has to look into adding starting pitching depth.
The Cubs cannot send Chatwood to the minor leagues due to his contract. Sending him to the bullpen could backfire if his issues persist. It also would be foolish to give up on him this early into his contract.
At the same time, something has to change. If Chatwood doesn’t improve, the team needs to find someone to pitch better in his place while he works through his issues on the mound.
Acquiring José Quintana from the White Sox helped the Cubs immensely in 2017. Acquiring another pitcher from the South Side could again provide the Cubs with a boost in the second half and beyond in 2018.