Are Chicago White Sox stuck with struggling Shields?
In what hardly comes as a surprise, Chicago White Sox starting pitcher James Shields reportedly has cleared waivers and can be traded to any contending team before Aug. 31, which would make him eligible for postseason play.
If the Sox were able to unload Shields -- and the $20 million he is owed over the next two seasons -- it would be nothing short of a miracle.
In Friday night's start against Oakland, Shields lasted just 4⅔ innings and was tagged for 7 runs (6 earned) on 8 hits and 3 walks.
The 34-year-old pitcher is 0-3 with a 17.36 ERA in 4 August starts, and he has allowed 9 home runs in his last 9 innings.
Would a contender in desperate need of starting pitching, and the Orioles come to mind, be willing to roll the dice on Shields?
Would teams gamble on trading for Shields based on his solid showing (2-3, 1.78 ERA) in July?
Considering the money he's owed, probably not. The White Sox likely are stuck with Shields through 2018.
Manager Robin Ventura still sees the upside in Shields.
"I think he's having an off period," Ventura said. "There's stuff there. You can see it. We've seen it. (U.S. Cellular Field) is a tough place to pitch, especially if you're not locating exactly where you want and guys put good swings on it. It's a small ballpark, and that's where you can get hurt the most, especially in the summer."
On the disabled since July 22 with a strained left hamstring, second baseman Brett Lawrie returned from a rehab assignment with Class AA Birmingham on Sunday.
Lawrie is not back in Chicago because he's ready to rejoin the White Sox's 25-man roster. He also has had some knee and quadriceps issues and will be re-evaluated Monday.
Lawrie had to come out of Saturday's rehab game with Birmingham after the fourth inning.
Time for promotion?
Starting pitcher Alec Hansen, the Sox's second-round pick in the June draft out of the University of Oklahoma, continued his run of dominance Sunday with Advanced Rookie Great Falls.
A 6-foot-7 right-hander, Hansen allowed 1 hit over 6 scoreless innings while striking out 13 against Helena.
In 36⅔ total innings for Great Falls, Hansen has 59 strikeouts and has given up 5 earned runs.