Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Why Not Wait Until The Regular Season To Evaluate Sheffield

It is a surprise the Tigers would release Gary Sheffield with a year and $14 million remaining on his contract.
He didn't have a good spring, but it would seem the wiser course of action would have been to see how Sheffield performed in the regular season before coming to a final decision. Then again, it tells you the Tigers' staff deemed Sheffield has lost his physical tools, that, in particular, his batspeed has waned. And to the Tigers' credit, they didn't keep Sheffield just to exploit his 500th home run.
It does better explain the Tigers' trade with Atlanta for outfielder Josh Anderson. Initially, the trade got a lot of kudos because Anderson runs well and put up decent stats in the major leagues last season. He is probably just a backup outfielder, though. Rudy Darrow is a better pitching prospect than he is being given credit. He is a long man or setup man, but he could have a long career in a role that is becoming increasingly important.
Marcus Thames can't play every day, but in a platoon he can effective. Anderson is one more option, especially if Jim Leyland decides to rest Carlos Guillen in the field once in awhile.
Sheffield will be signed by another team. There is nothing to lose. The Tigers will be on the hook for virtually all his salary.



Blogger Larry Baker said...

I was surprised by Sheffield's release, but glad to see that salary will not translate into innings pitched or at bats this year. I think that both our manager and GM are entering this season with a sense of urgency. I also think the Tigers need to get out of the box with a decent start for box office purposes. From that point of view it would be ironic if they have to basically bring in young talent to pay for the hefty salaries of Sheffield, Willis, Robertson & Co.

9:48 PM 
Blogger Fred Brill said...

The 2009 season already feels ominous Pat.

I think the most respectful thing they could have done for Sheffield - a future hall of famer - is what they did. They cut him loose so that another team can start the season with him.

I can't even fathom eating his $14M million dollar contract. I'm glad I'm not paying these guys.

But this year, unlike the past three, the Tigers - in my opinion - seem to grasping at straws.

But at least it's baseball season.

Good luck over there.

12:05 AM 
Blogger Barry said...

Pat, I am still in shock that they actually sign Gary to a three contract back in 06. They needed a left handed bat as it was proven in the 06 World Series. The exciting thing about Gary leaving, it allows new blood to make the team and Marcus gets his 300 ABS. Never understood why teams would not want 25 HRs with 300 ABs as your DH. I like the idea of having another left handed bat in the line-up that also has speed and good D.
Winning in baseball is quite simple, have an excellent bullpen, sign a few stars and have an excellent draft team. DD has excelled in the last two drafts, which will pay the Tiger dividends over the next two year. The Tigers should be like the Twins but with a few more dollars to spend

2:09 PM 
Blogger maddog52 said...

I think what is more disappointing is that Fernando Rodney won the closer job. How does Ryan Perry not get that nod? what cause he is young. That is utter B.S. My mind dombrowski has earned anything. Should be fired after this season. I say that we had a broken engine called a pitching staff. HE has done nothing to fix or upgrade it. You can't expect to run a race with a bad engine year in and year out and expect the fans to get behind you. I think our rotation could of used a Derrick Lowe. I don't mind Rodney being in the pen, but I just think Perry should be your closer. Todd Jones isn't here, Zumya fizzled out and isn't here. You put your best option there.

With Sheffield i think it really don't matter all it does is say marcus thames / Jeff larrish / josh anderson you want a shot now you got it. I think it is good cause I will like to see what a larish can offer. He can't show much sitting on the pine.

2:15 PM 
Blogger Jim15032 said...

Goodbye, Gary!

And for the benefit of anyone who bemoans his not hitting HR #500 wearing a D, two things.

First, Sheff has not exactly had a Tiger tenure which compared with Al or Willie.

Second, check Eddie Mathews's career. After being with the Braves through two franchise moves (the only man to play with the Braves in three towns), he was dumped to Houston after 493 hrs.

2:37 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Larry Baker,
Astute observation. Everyone knows about Leyland's situation, but it's not like Dombrowski has done a good job lately of taking care of Ilitch's investment.

5:20 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Fred Brill,
We'll see how Sheffield does with the Mets. He'll have to play in the field. Maybe a lot of his funk had to do with knowing the Tigers were only going to DH him.

5:21 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Three-hundred at bats is just about right for Thames. Any more than that and he gets badly exposed.

5:22 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

It's not who starts the season in a spot that necessarily matters, but how it evolves. But having said that, it's difficult to imagine the Tigers sticking with Rodney long in the role - especially if Perry pitches reasonably well.

5:40 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

I never thought about with Mathews. Wonder if Al Kaline ever regrets retiring with one less home run than 400 for his career. I'll have to ask him sometime.

5:42 PM 

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