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James Shields Contract Details

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A closer look at the money being doled out to the Padres big free agent acquisition.

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

When reports of James Shields' signing with the Padres came out, it was reported that it was four years with an optional fifth year. It's right there in Chris Cotillo's news breaking tweet:


He also added later:


So, the basic parameters were known. Some more details came out the next day:



For those keeping track, by Monday morning the contract was being reported as 4 years, $75M with an optional fifth year valued at an extra $16M in total contract value.

Today we got some additional updates. First from Jon Heyman:


Then from Ken Rosenthal:


Putting that all together: 4 years, $75M, an option year salary of $18M with a $2M buyout, a 2015 salary of $10M, salaries from 2016-2018 that add up to $63M and no no-trade-clause.

That 2015 salary is a bit off-putting. Once again the Padres are pinching pennies on the 2015 season and deferring accountability on the contracts they control into the future. Both Shields' and Kemp's contracts are a lot cheaper in 2015 than in future seasons. In Shields' case the lack of a no trade cause brings to mind the Marlins who have set up contracts like this in order to trade the player the following season. I am by no means predicting a future trade though.

What I am saying is that the team is pushing a lot of its chips in on the 2015 season, while not yet bearing the cost of doing so. They will bear that cost in 2016 and beyond. To what ends that affects the ability to build competitive teams remains to be seen. But it will complicate and limit roster decisions going forward. Some quick math on the 2016 roster would put that season's projected payroll commitments at ~$95.5M. That's with Justin Upton, Ian Kennedy, Carlos Quentin, Will Venable, Shawn Kelley, Brandon Morrow, Josh Johnson and Clint Barmes all coming off the books. By comparison, the current 2015 payroll stands at ~$97M. That's a lot of guys leaving and not a lot of room to bring in any replacements.