The Padres and White Sox are engaged in discussions about a trade that would send right-hander James Shields to Chicago, according to Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune. Lin reports that the talks have "significant momentum," meaning a deal could come soon.
Dave Williams of Barstool Sports first reported talks between the teams Friday.
The White Sox, who currently sit in first place in the AL Central with a 27-22 record, have indicated that they plan to be aggressive in trade talks, even with the non-waiver deadline more than two full months away. San Diego has been willing to shop Shields since last summer, with the Red Sox and Cubs among other teams with reported interest.
Chicago currently has a strong starting group of Chris Sale, Jose Quintana, Carlos Rodon, Mat Latos and Miguel Gonzalez, but would be looking to upgrade by making a strike for Shields. The team cut ties with veteran left-hander John Danks earlier this month and has been on the lookout for rotation help over the past few weeks.
Shields, 34, has posted a 3.06 ERA in 10 starts with San Diego so far this season and has been thought of as one of the most likely starters to be moved this summer. He is owed roughly $58 million on the remainder of the 4-year, $75 million deal he signed with the Padres last February, though San Diego appears willing to eat some of his contract in a trade.
Shields can opt out of his contract this winter and hit free agency, forgoing the final two years and $44 million guaranteed over that time. With a weak free-agent class of starters headlined by middle-of-the-rotation options like Rich Hill and Andrew Cashner slated to be available this winter, Shields may decide opt out and cash in on a new deal.
Shields does not have a no-trade clause in his contract, meaning he could be dealt without his consent. Shields lives in San Diego, meaning a move at this point in the season away from the city could influence his opt-out decision this winter.