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White Sox make the right move by acquiring James Shields

There is a pitched existential battle going on among White Sox fans about the James Shields trade, with one side thinking it’s a terrible move and the other side thinking we can put a man on the moon but we can’t figure out a way to keep a beer cold.

No, Shields can’t hit and, no, he doesn’t come out of the bullpen, but that misses the point. If he pitches the way he normally does – and the man is as consistent as a watch’s second hand – he gives the bullpen much-needed rest and he gives the Sox a chance to win more games, regardless of whether their offensive struggles continue.

Chris Sale, the ace of the Sox’ staff, understands what it means to be getting a pitcher who threw 200-plus innings in each of the previous nine seasons.

“You have to have a lot of respect for him,’’ he said. “It’s not easy. You don’t just roll out of bed and throw 200 innings. For him, it seems like it’s that way. You know, it just takes stress off everybody else. It takes stress off the next starting pitcher. It takes stress off the bullpen, and he’s going to give us some quality innings as well. He’s still got a lot left in the tank, so we’re looking forward to that. Like I said, hopefully that’s the spark we need.”

(AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

This appears to be a team that feeds off good vibes but is susceptible to lengthy funks when things start going south. The acquisition of Shields should offer the chance for another high.

Did the Sox give up too much by sending highly-regarded prospect Fernando Tatis Jr. to the Padres? Perhaps, but this trade is about making sure they remain contenders this season. In baseball, if there’s hope, you chase it.

Is paying $27 million of the remaining $56 million on Shields’ contract too high a price for the Sox? I’m sorry, I wasn’t paying attention to your question. I was too busy thinking about a rotation that includes Sale, Shields and Jose Quintana.