Okay, now it's official. Padres starter James Shields is sent to the White Sox for right hander Eric Johnson and shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. The Padres are expected to eat about half of Shields' remaining contract in the swap.
According to multiple reports, the Padres will eat a significant portion of the remaining $58 million owed on Shields' four-year, $75 million deal signed in February 2015. The White Sox are expected to pay $27 million of Shields' remaining salary if he doesn't opt out of his contract after this season.
This appears to be a clear sign that the Padres have realized they can't stand pat any longer and expect this team to win. Whether this is the start of a full rebuild, well, it's anybody's guess. We know for certain that even with Shields the Padres had no chance of winning, but he was not the sole reason for their failure.
Padres Chairman Ron Fowler could not have helped James Shields' trade value after he criticized him in a radio interview earlier in the week. At that point opposing teams knew that Shields had to be moved and wouldn't have to pay extra. Shields must be overjoyed to catch a life boat off this sinking ship.