The division rival Chicago White Sox have reportedly acquired right-handed pitcher James Shields from the San Diego Padres. Shields, who pitched for the Royals from 2013-2014, was 2-7 with a 4.28 ERA in 11 starts this year, getting shelled in his most recent start against the Mariners. The return is not yet known, although it is believed to involve right-handed pitcher Erik Johnson and shortstop Fernando Tatis, Jr. According to national columnist Scott Miller, the Royals were among the teams inquiring about Shields.
Shields signed a four-year, $75 million deal with the Padres before the 2015 season, that includes an opt-out after this season with $44 million left after this year. The Padres will reportedly pay $30 of the remaining $56 million left on the deal. Shields was 13-7 with a 3.91 ERA in his first season in San Diego in 2015, although he led the league with 33 home runs allowed. The 34-year old has won 129 games in his 11-year Major League career.
The move bolsters a Chicago rotation that already includes Chris Sale, Jose Quintana, Mat Latos, and Carlos Rodon. The rumors of Dayton Moore's interest in a reunion signal that the Royals may be looking at external options to improve the starting rotation. The Royals currently have the fifth-worst ERA for starting pitchers in the American League at 4.73.