Shields can opt out of deal after 2016 season

In doing so righty would have to forfeit guaranteed $44 million to be free agent at 35

Shields can opt out of deal after 2016 season

SAN DIEGO -- James Shields said during his introductory news conference on Wednesday that one of the factors that led him to choosing the Padres was the opportunity to play close to his home in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., which is about a 30-minute drive from Petco Park.

"The main decision when it came down to it, I had to think of my family being close to home," he said.

Signing a four-year deal with a club option for a fifth season gave Shields a reasonable assurance that he will be able to do so for a while -- though he will have an opportunity to opt out of the deal early if he chooses.

On Friday, Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com reported that Shields has an opt-out clause in his contract following the 2016 season, meaning he could walk away from the final $44 million on his deal.

Shields contract calls for him to be paid $10 million this season and $21 million over each of the following three seasons. There's a $16 million club option for 2019 with a $2 million buyout.

By leaving after two seasons, Shields could pursue a new deal at age 35. But he would have to walk away from the guaranteed $42 million and the $2 million buyout.

The Padres are fully expecting Shields to remain with the organization through the life of the contract and serve as a key piece of a starting rotation that should be among the most formidable in the league in 2015.

"This organization is ready to win now," Shields said. "That's what attracted me. I'm ready to win now. And to be able to play in the city I live in is pretty special."

There are no other clauses or incentives included in Shields contract, according to a baseball source.

Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.