According to reports the Cleveland Indians apparently have interest in the services of veteran free agent pitcher James Shields.
The fact that the Cleveland Indians are searching for pitching help is not surprising. The injuries to Corey Kluber and Mike Clevinger essentially forced Cleveland to explore any and all options. Add in the fact that Cody Anderson’s spot start this past Sunday was a complete and utter disaster, it appears a move is going to happen sooner rather than later. The interest in James Shields though is a bit surprising.
“Big Game James” is not who he once was. The last time Shields had an ERA under 4 was back in 2015 with the Padres. That was the last time Shields has even been considered serviceable. Since then Shields has given up a ton of home runs and has been very hittable. Even in 2015 Shields gave up 33 long balls. Including the 2015 season Shields surrenders on average just over 33 home runs per season. A pitcher who gives up a ton of homers is now what the Indians need right now.
The only positive to come out of signing Shields would be the fact that he can pitch a ton of innings. Considering the up and down performance of the bullpen this season this would help if the pen was used heavily the previous day. The only issue is that with how the offense has performed thus far they may not score enough to put the Indians in position to win considering how hard teams hit Shields.
Having interest in Shields and seeing if he has anything left is worth it. Signing him and expecting anything more than an innings-eater high ERA type may not be. The Indians are not in such dire need of a starting pitcher that signing Shields needs to happen.