CHICAGO -- James Shields has joked with friends and teammates in the past that it seems like he's getting traded every year.
This latest batch of rumors actually came to fruition, with the right-hander moving from the Padres to the White Sox on Saturday in exchange for Minor Leaguers Erik Johnson and Fernando Tatis Jr. Shields met with the media prior to Tuesday's series opener against the Nationals and one day prior to his White Sox debut.
"It was a little bittersweet," Shields said. "Obviously, I live in San Diego, it's my home and I signed to go there. We had big plans to go there.
"But things change. I'm really excited to be here in Chicago. I've always played against Chicago and loved the city, love the town. My kids love the town. So I'm excited to do some things here."
White Sox general manager Rick Hahn and Padres general manager A.J. Preller actually ran into each other scouting a college game about eight days ago and came to an agreement at that point on the players. The economics had to be figured out over the past week, with the White Sox on the hook for $27 million to Shields over the next three years, assuming he doesn't exercise an opt out after 2016.
During the past week, Shields allowed 10 runs on eight hits and four walks over 2 2/3 innings against the Mariners and was ripped publicly by Padres executive chairman Ron Fowler.
"Our owner had a little concern with that outing, too. It wasn't a fun conversation to have," a smiling Hahn said. "He pointed out the line. He wanted to make sure we were aware of it, and I assured him we were aware of it.
"Ultimately, he understood the track record of this player and how he fits in going forward. I've harped on this, but we've looked for an extended period of time. But certainly this last offseason, trying to add guys who fit into that clubhouse, that have a certain type of character, a certain type of makeup that helps not only focus on the matter at hand and competes, but also makes the guys around them better. James is another example of that type of makeup. Jerry [Reinsdorf] appreciated the entirety of the player beyond just that one game."
Adding Shields gives the benefit of somewhere around 20 starts for the White Sox from the right-hander. But Hahn is not done improving the roster, with a left-handed bat and possibly a power reliever on the list.
Hahn was asked how much more money he can convince Reinsdorf to spend, and he smiled when replying, "Until he says no."
"That's probably the No. 1 thing that comes from Jerry is the press to get better, whether it's the 25 guys we have in here or what we are talking about with other clubs throughout the league," Hahn said. "He's very focused on certain areas that we can do better, and is not the least bit shy about pointing out to us certain things that we need to improve upon, which we then have a pretty healthy exchange about."
"I know how to win," said Shields. "Looking from afar, [the White Sox] look like they have a blast. They have fun, which I'm really excited about."