James Shields was a very good and reliable starter for both the Tampa Bay Rays and Kansas City Royals for 9 seasons. In 2015 the San Diego Padres signed him to a 4 year $75 million contract. It looked like it might be unwise considering his age of 34.
The first season was a typical James Shields season. He finished 13-7 with a 3.91 ERA. He struck out 216 batters but gave up a league leading 33 home runs. This included a home run by Bartolo Colon (his only home run in a 21 season career).
The home run problem continued into the second season but Shields had lost his effectiveness. By June he was 2-7 with a 4.28 ERA and 9 more home runs surrendered. The fan base was showing their discontent with him. The Padres managed to trade him to the White Sox with over two years left in the contract.
The White Sox fared even worse. Shields gave up 31 more home runs that season with the White Sox including a game where he surrendered first home runs to three different rookies in the same game. He had the highest WHIP in the league in that season.
His final two seasons with the White Sox he won 12 games and lost 23. He gave up 61 home runs and had an ERA in excess of 4.50. James Shields’ four year contract was terrible for the White Sox. The Padres, who made the deal, escaped because when they traded him to the White Sox they received a minor league shortstop named Fernando Tatis, Jr.