Cincinnati Reds: James Shields on His Way to Town? Please Say It Ain't So!

Illya HarrellAnalyst IIDecember 12, 2011

ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 01:  Manager Joe Maddon takes out James Shields #33 of the Tampa Bay Rays in the 6th inning against the Texas Rangers during Game Two of the American League Division Series at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on September 30, 2011 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

James Shields will be a human pitching machine if he makes his way to Great American Ball Park. So GM Walt Jocketty and owner Bob Castellini, please, if you are going to trade for him, give up not more than a couple rolls of pre-1983 pennies. Yeah, the copper ones.

Why all of this anti-Shields sentiment? Simple. He gives up the long ball and in Cincinnati, that is a recipe for disaster.

Shields is coming off of a 2011 campaign that was easily the best of his six year major league career—an all-star who finished third on Cy Young ballots. 

He's an innings eater. Rubber arm...Reds' fans probably know where this is going. Sounds a lot like a guy already on the roster.

Yes, Bronson Arroyo, minus Shields' strikeout ratio—which should not be overlooked—averaging roughly seven per nine innings pitched over the last five years, or about 2.5 more than Arroyo over the same span...that's pretty good. And Shields has averaged over eight per nine in his last two seasons.

Okay, enough primping over Shields and his stellar 2011 season.

Now let's take a look at 2010: Shields led the American League in hits allowed, home runs allowed, sported a 5.18 ERA and a 1.46 WHIP. If that's not enough to strike willies in the heart of Jocketty, then either he is getting senile or relying on Reds' fans to not look past last season.

And remember, Arroyo came off of a career year in 2010 before being offered an extension that was a couple of million less than what Mark Buehrle just signed for in Miami.

Arroyo and Shields have been very similar over the past two seasons—minus the strikeouts. Arroyo had a career year in 2010 and a career worst in 2011. Now flip-flop the scenario for Shields, who was lights out last year and threw like any random junior college pitcher in 2010.

Walt, if you trade Yonder Alonso and Yasmani Grandal for Shields expect many, many columns about an over-the-hill GM that can't keep up with the new breed Andrew Friedman types. 

If you're dead-set on wheeling, start talking shop with Oakland again—mainly for Andrew Bailey. Or a blockbuster for Bailey and Gio Gonzalez. Yeah, that'd be pricey. The A's would try to weasel Billy Hamilton into the deal—and rightfully so—but, and this is a huge but...Hamilton is untouchable.

Let's just forget about Shields for now.

Quit worrying that you totally screwed the pooch during the Winter Meetings—do not panic. Nothing rash just for the sake of trying to clean your pie-covered face so you can show off that Florida tan.

You messed happens.

As long as it is not James Shields and assuming the Reds will be in the race come the trade deadline—which is a given—trade for a beast. 

Only this time don't blow it!