Three winters ago, we got into a lot of arguments about James Shields. He was at the center of a very polarizing trade and people took sides. You remember it, so I won’t rehash things other than to remark on how funny it is that the James Shields-Wil Myers blockbuster has actually become the Wade Davis trade. Wade Davis! The guy who gave up 5.92 runs per nine in the season following the deal.
Life’s little insanities aside, Shields was very good for the Royals during his two seasons in Kansas City. He was worth 4.0 and 3.3 WAR, respectively, and helped push them over the hump and back into relevance. Would they have gotten there without him? It’s entirely possible, but he was a key player on the team during their renaissance and deserves some recognition for it. You will note, however, that Shields signed elsewhere after the Royals lost the 2014 World Series and then the team won the 2015 title without him.
One of Shields’ hallmarks, and one of the main reasons the Royals acquired him, was his consistency. You were pretty much assured more than 200 innings of good, non-elite run prevention and above-average fielding independent numbers. Shields was as predictable as a person could be in baseball. Then he signed with the Padres.