Why The Mariners Should Not Pursue James Shields


Editor’s Note: This Part 2 of our 4-part series. You can find part one by clicking here. Enjoy.

On Thursday, Chace gave his thoughts as to why the Seattle Mariners should go out and sign RHP James Shields. He made a compelling argument regarding a need for a player with playoff experience on the roster.

‘Big Game James’ is his nickname and I have never quite understood why.

Is it because he won his first ever postseason start – 2008 ALDS win over the Chicago White Sox – even though he allowed three earned runs in 6.1 innings in that start?

It certainly can’t be because of his next two starts in the 2008 ALCS against the Boston Red Sox. In those two starts, he went 0-2 with an ERA of 3.46 (not bad) in 13 innings.

In the 2008 World Series, he turned in his best postseason performance, earning the win allowing no runs over 5.2 innings despite giving up seven hits.

Since then, ‘Big Game James’ has made seven more postseason starts……he’s won ONE of them.

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In fact, in his 11 postseason appearances, James Shields is 3-6 with an ERA of 5.46. In the 2014 playoffs for Kansas City, he almost blew the Royals’ shot of even being in the ALDS as he allowed four runs on five hits in five innings to the Oakland A’s.

He got a win over the Los Angeles Angels in the ALDS but then imploded in the ALCS against Baltimore allowing 10 hits and four runs over five innings and getting a no decision.

In the World Series against the Giants, he lost both games he started, including the opening game and the pivotal Game 5. His line over the two games: 9 IP, 15 H, 7 R, 7 ER, 2 BB, 5 K.

Not exactly the kind of line I want from my “experienced postseason” pitcher.

There is no doubt that Shields has been a solid starting pitcher in the regular season. Though his average WAR over the last nine seasons is just under 3.0.

He will chew up some innings and give you a chance to win each time he takes the mound during the regular season. And if that’s what you want him for, then by all means, make a push.

But if you want to bring Shields in simply because he has postseason experience, I’ll pass.

That’s not the kind of experience I would want to expose my young pitching staff to.