The Milwaukee Brewers have been known to make big splashes at the end of the winter. Two-fifths of their starting rotation is made up of pitchers who were shockingly late moves. After trading Yovani Gallardo, many thought the next target for general manager, Doug Melvin would be the signing of James Shields. Shields has since signed on with the San Diego Padres and that news couldn’t be better for the Milwaukee Brewers.
Signing Shields would have signaled a win now mode, but also put the team in a large financial hole for 2015 and beyond. This season if they were to have added him, they would have had little money to add a player or two if needed at the trading deadline. Though Kyle Lohse, Aramis Ramirez and a slew of others will be more than likely gone after this season to free up money, Ryan Braun‘s big contract and the need to extend other players would have been difficult to pay with Shields on the roster.
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Not only would the deal for Shields have been expensive, but also unnecessary. Though it appears the Brewers are lacking pitching depth, Jimmy Nelson can now officially breathe a sigh of relief as his spot is assured in the 2015 rotation. With nothing left to prove in the minor leagues, he has fully earned this shot and if last season’s AAA numbers are any indication, he is set for a breakout year. Not getting Shields also gives the young arms like Taylor Jungmann and Tyler Thornburg a hope to still be a part of the Brewers rotation in the future.
Though he has a stellar 114-90 career record to go along with a 3.72 ERA a decline is likely to be coming for the 33-year-old Shields. He has never faced injury in his career but according to Fangraphs only one pitcher has thrown more pitches than Shields in the past eight years. This could cause a problem in the future, as seen with pitchers like Dan Haren, whose career started to decline after 2011. Having Shields at the age of 33 may not be bad, but paying big money at age 35 and 36 would have been difficult.
As a bonus the Brewers have also moved up a spot in the 2015 draft as the Padres have had to forfeit their first selection in compensation for Shields.
A signing like Shields may have been one to get the fans talking in Milwaukee, but when it is all said and done they made the right move by not making another big splash this winter. Even without him this team is set to compete now and in the future. The rumors about the rotation with Shields can finally stop. With young talented arms throughout the rotation the Brewers’ pitching will be just fine and prove that they didn’t need the extra help.