Mon 09/02/2015 - 19:27 EST

Padres World Series Odds On Move After Signing James Shields

Pitchers and catchers around baseball will begin reporting to spring training sites in Arizona and Florida in less than two weeks and the biggest-name free agent still on the market finally found an employer on Monday as the San Diego Padres signed pitcher James Shields to a four-year, $75 million deal -- a lot less money than Shields no doubt was expecting this offseason.

That addition jumped San Diego from 25/1 to 16/1 on Bovada’s World Series odds. Shields had a 14-8 record with a 3.21 ERA, 180 strikeouts and just 44 walks in 227 innings for the Kansas City Royals last season. He did struggle in the playoffs and has a career postseason ERA of 5.46. Shields made $13.5 million in 2014 after the Royals exercised the option on his contract before the season. The veteran right-hander, who grew up near San Diego, provides the Padres with a workhorse in pitching-friendly Petco Park. Shields ranks first among MLB pitchers with 1,785 2/3 innings pitched since 2007, according to baseball-reference.com. Seattle’s Felix Hernandez is second in that span with 1,785 1/3 innings, while Detroit’s Justin Verlander is third at 1,780 2/3. The move adds to the impressive makeover for the Padres, who have landed Justin Upton, Matt Kemp, Will Middlebrooks, Wil Myers and Derek Norris this offseason after finishing last in the majors in runs scored in 2014. Signing Shields gives the Padres six pitchers who are capable of handling 150 or so innings in a major league rotation and three others who might contribute something less than that this year. That should be enough to get them 1,000 innings from their starters even if they choose to deal one of them.  Shields and Ian Kennedy are the best bets to take the ball 33 times and reach 200 innings. Tyson Ross and Andrew Cashner have better upside on a per-inning basis, but neither is a good bet to stay healthy for a full season. Odrisamer Despaigne is probably just a fifth starter in the long run, but he made 23 pro starts last year. The ZiPS projection system, which factors in this inherent risk, values Shields at $84 million in San Diego over the next four seasons, with his projected WAR only barely dipping below three in his final guaranteed season. ESPN ran ZiPS season simulations on San Diego two weeks ago and the Padres averaged 81 wins, third in the NL West behind the Dodgers and the Giants. Now that number is 84 wins on average. Just going from an 81 to an 84-win average was enough to boost the simulated playoff odds for San Diego from 30 percent to 49 percent, almost a fifth of a playoff spot. And that wasn’t only improving the wild-card odds; the divisional odds, the most important ones given MLB’s current playoff structure, improved from 10 percent to 21 percent. If there’s one concern, it’s that In the past two seasons, Shields has benefited greatly from the Kansas City Royals’ outfield defense. In that span, Shields has allowed a 34.4 percent fly ball rate, which is above the major-league average for qualifying pitchers in that span. On fly balls traveling at least 250 feet, Shields allowed a .186 batting average, fourth-lowest among pitchers to have at least 250 at-bats end with a fly ball traveling at least that far. In the past two seasons, the Royals had three players in the top 10 in MLB in defensive WAR. The Padres’ outfield of Kemp, Myers and Upton projects to be one of the league’s worst defensively.

Category : Sports Betting News

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