The Chicago White Sox have done a lot of good things over the past few years, but the James Shields trade wasn’t one of them.
The 2016 season was a wild ride for the Chicago White Sox and their fans. It was an up and down season but they believed they were a good team going into the season. They started off the season very hot and looked like they would cruise to a division title, or at the very least compete for a spot in the postseason.
However, they fell very short of that goal. As good as they started, they finished even worse. They finished the season 78-84. That did not come before they tried to put a bandage on the problem, and that problem was their pitching staff. It seemed they had no effective pitchers after Chris Sale and Jose Quintana.
They made a trade on June 4th, 2016, sending two prospects to the San Diego Padres in exchange for starting pitcher James Shields. One of those two prospects, Fernando Tatis Jr has rocketed up the prospect rankings, serving as a reminder of how bad the trade was for the White Sox.
The 2019 MLB Pipeline top 100 prospects came out last Saturday. There is a sight to behold in the top three for White Sox fans. Number three is outfield prospect Eloy Jimenez, who the team hopes will be a big part of the future.
However, it’s not all good news as the prospect ranked one spot ahead of Jimenez is Tatis, one of the two prospects that went to San Diego for Shields. The White Sox signed him through international free agency in 2015. General manager Rick Hahn traded him before he ever played a minor league game. That fact alone makes it a little more bearable to think about because it’s not like he traded away a fully blown elite prospect, at least at the time.
Shields went 16-35 with the White Sox and Tatis Jr is one of the best prospects in the world so it is pretty close to being one of the worst trades in the long history of the franchise. It will only look worse if Tatis Jr lights it up in the big leagues. Now he didn’t really have much help during his time on the White Sox, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that he was not worth the No. 2 prospect in baseball.
Rick Hahn also recently made comments about this trade at SoxFest. He acknowledged it being a terrible trade and that is good news. It is good to know that he recognizes mistakes and likely learns from them. His words about it reflect a sense of regret, but onward and upward.
The one thing White Sox fans can appreciate about Shields tenure with the team is how much of a professional he was about the situation. He never really complained or made a big deal about his role. His role for two and a half years was to eat up innings while the team stripped the roster down to nothing and let young guys develop in the minors. During Shields’ tenure with the team they built one of the best farm systems in the league. Shields ate innings without ever saying a word, and White Sox fans should appreciate him for being a good teammate.
Even though that was a disaster of a trade, at least Hahn has made up for it with other moves. Although Fernando Tatis Jr.would have looked great in black and white, we can still enjoy his play from afar. Nevertheless, there are big things in store for this franchise in the meantime.