Don’t expect Ben Sheets to be a bargain

Kennedy strong in his final start of 2009
A role, defined or not, for Joba

Every year there are a few free agents who were once good, but who have succumbed to injury. They’re a baseball fan’s dream. We imagine the best of all possible worlds, an incentive laden contract that protects against loss and maximizes reward. If only the front office were smart enough to understand that, they’d have a great pitcher. Alas, only one team gets the player, and it’s usually not our favorite one.

This year’s free agent class features three of these pitchers. Erik Bedard, Rich Harden, and Ben Sheets should all be fine for Opening Day 2010, but each had trouble staying healthy in 2009. At their best they’re all very good pitchers, but because of the health questions they probably won’t cash in this off-season. That is, unless there’s a reason to believe that the injury concern isn’t too great.

Ben Sheets is a familiar name to Yankees fans. He was one of the top free agent pitchers last year, and therefore was on the Yankees radar. Before he revealed the severity of his elbow injury, Sheets was considered an alternative to A.J. Burnett — and he might even have been the better choice. After surgery to repair a torn flexor tendon in his right elbow, Sheets played the waiting game, but ultimately did not pitch in 2009.

This could be a good thing, says Keith Law.

The year off may do him wonders, as he’s had a lot of non-arm injuries that have limited his workload for the past few years, and he was never terrible when pitching at less than 100 percent. So as this type of pitcher goes, he’s a pretty good value; not much downside with the upside of a No. 2 starter who might give you 160-180 innings.

In comparing Sheets to Burnett last off-season, Mike listed Sheets’s injury history. Law is right that Sheets has suffered many non-arm injuries, including a viral and ear infection in 2005, a torn lat in the same year, and a sprained middle finger in 2007. His most serious arm injury was a right shoulder strain in 2006, which kept him on the DL barely more than the minimum, but which also came up a month later, causing him to miss more than two months.

The latest injury is of concern, of course, raises concern because it was an arm injury. A torn flexor tendon isn’t considered as serious as a torn ligament, but it’s still an arm injury. Some teams just can’t afford to take that risk, even for a pitcher like Sheets. That will depress his market value a bit, but I’m not sure he’ll be a true bargain. There are plenty of teams that could use a pitcher like him, and I think it might mean a higher base salary and fewer incentives.

Even if other teams aren’t offering a high base, the Yankees might have to. As Tyler Kepner notes, the price on Sheets “would probably be low enough that the Yankees could afford to outbid other teams.” That’s the way things usually work with the Yankees. They have money and everyone knows it. So when the Yankees want a player that other teams want, they sometimes have to pay a premium. It’s one reason why the Yankees payroll is so high, but that’s a topic for another day.

Ben Sheets would be a great addition to any team. His injury history, and especially his latest one, make him a bigger risk than others, but his upside is perhaps the best on the free agent market. The Yankees liked Sheets when they met with him last off-season, and could certainly pursue him again this year. He’d be a gamble, and the Yankees might have to pay a premium for him, but if it works out the 2010 staff will be greatly strengthened.

Kennedy strong in his final start of 2009
A role, defined or not, for Joba
  • Benjamin Kabak

    I can definitely see Sheets signing a one-year deal with low base and a very high incentive ceiling. I was thinking about this one today, and the list of teams interested in Sheets already seems substantial. The more teams interested, the higher the Yanks would have to go. I’d love to see him in the Bronx, but I’m not optimistic at all.

    • gxpanos

      Man, it’s sweet to think about, though.

    • iYankees

      I’m a fan of this occurring, as well. One reader on my site, though, is currently questioning the downside of such a deal, claiming that it would hinder the development of either Joba or Hughes as starters (Hughes would probably feel a rotation crunch before Joba), and that argument certainly has merit. I do, however, think that the upside provided by Sheets is too good to pass on, especially when a rotation that features both Hughes and Joba isn’t all that concrete. I guess an “is it worth it” rebuttal works, in this sense (yes, it is).

      • iYankees

        This is assuming Pettitte returns.

      • Benjamin Kabak

        First, pitching depth is always worth it (assuming the price is right). Second, Sheets hasn’t thrown a full season — 34 starts — since 2004. He may hinder either Joba’s or Phil’s maturation as a starter but not significantly. The Yanks got really lucky this year in a way because none of their starting pitchers besides the already-injured Wang missed time. I doubt that happens again next year, and Sheets would be an addition with great upside and a great insurance policy.

        • andrew

          “pitching depth is always worth it (assuming the price is right)

          So you’re saying pitching is always worth it, if it’s worth it.

          • whozat

            He’s saying that roster crunch issues are less of an issue than the year/dollar commitment issues.

            If, say, Lackey was going to take a 2 year deal…I’d have a hard time saying they should pass on that so Joba and Phil can be in the rotation — and I’m ALL about developing young pitching.

            With Sheets, Burnett and a 38 year old in the same rotation, I’d expect some extra starts to fall out :-)

            • radnom

              The sixth starter is going to get plenty of starts regardless of the age/injury history of the rotation. Complaining about someone getting bumped from the opening day rotation is ridiculous. Ask the 09 Sox.

              • The Scout

                Absolutely correct. In a typical year, teams end up using eight starters, and they are fortunate if six can give them 20+ apiece.

        • Mike Axisa

          Nitpick: 34 starts is a ton of starts. Only ten pitchers made that many starts in 2009. I’d consider the 31 starts Sheets made in 2008 a pretty full season.

          • Benjamin Kabak

            Fair enough. In 2009, 56 pitchers made at least 31 starts and 67 made at least 30. That’s probably a better indication of a full season. That just means, though, that Sheets has made a full season’s worth of starts just once since 2004.

  • Rob A from BBD

    If the Yankees had their doctors look at him and maybe watched him throw, although that probably won’t happen, and they have a reason to think he’ll be healthy then I would like to see them go for it. As long as they don’t have to pay in years. A one-year $10 million commitment wouldn’t be bad.

    • The Artist

      10 mil guaranteed? That would be horrendous. That’s good coin for a reliable HEALTHY starter in today’s market. I think Joe’s main point was that someone else may get him for 3-5 guaranteed w/incentives, but the Yanks would have to pay 5-6.

      If Sheets had a clean bill of health, he’d probably get 15 or so in this market on a 2-3 year deal. Coming off an arm injury and considering his history it’s going to be far less.

      • Bo

        He has as much chance at 10 mil guaranteed as Milton Bradley has of playing for the Yankees.

  • Ant

    I think it depends a lot of what happens with Pettitte. If he comes the chance of signing Sheets looks slim. However, If Pettitte retires the Yankees have a big hole in the rotation and I believe they would go after Sheet very aggressively.

  • JMK aka The Overshare

    Just important a question is if Sheets would sign knowing that the Yankee rotation is set (assuming Andy signs). You already have CC, AJ, Andy, Joba, Hughes. I doubt he’ll want to sign to be a 6th starter, even if we out-bid other teams.

    Even with his upside (and he is a very, very good pitcher), wouldn’t you be more secure with Andy over Sheets, considering the injury history? If Sheets spends a any extended time on the DL it puts a great strain on the bullpen and possibly the young starters. We all hear about Hughes and Joba not having innings limits -it may be true- but a lot of that comes from having dependable innings-eaters in front of them. AJ, as has been noted, is still a big risk.

    With CC, AJ, Sheets, Joba and Hughes, it’s not inconceivable to have your 2 and 3 starters go down for a lot of DL time, along with having young starters hit innings totals far beyond what they should hit.

    I’d be happy to have them sign Sheets to a moderate base ($6 million) with high incentives, but I don’t think he’d be interested, and certainly not as a replacement for Andy.

    //Seacrest out!

    • Benjamin Kabak

      If the Yanks sign Sheets, I’d have to assume that either Joba or Phil would be ticketed to the bullpen to start the season. Whether that is something we want is an entirely different conversation.

      • pat

        Yeah that’s definitely something I’m sure you guys are going to address. Is it really wise to go into 2010 leaning on Phil and Joba to pitch a whole season in the rotation of league average or better?

        • JMK aka The Overshare

          Yeah, get on that shit, Ben! I’m paying good money for this analys—what’s that? This is free? Oh. Well…hey, whenever you get around to it, we’ll bring it up then. I’ll make sure to sing “I’ll Meet You in Scotland.”

          Carry on.

          • pat

            I’m prepared to withhold payments currently in escrow if my demands are not met.
            Seriously though, I wasn’t being demanding just saying that from now and Feb 23rd they’ll probably post about 900 articles. I’m sure at least one will be about the wisdom (or lack thereof) of leaning on Joba and Hughes to pitch a whole season.

            • JMK aka The Overshare

              Oh pat, we’re kindred e-spirits (and likely both on “lists”); I was merely agreeing with your sentiments that it would be awesome to have a post touching on those matters, but I chose to express it in a far less constructive manner.

              BTW: Check out “I’ll Meet You in Scotland” on Urban Dictionary, along with “Alabama Hot Pocket”.

              • Salty Buggah

                That last part came out of nowhere.

                • JMK aka The Overshare

                  Who doesn’t like a good surprise every now and then?

                  Funny story: I was browsing UD when I came (no pun intended, nor encouraged in this case) upon the Alabama Hot Pocket, and was so startled that I spilt beer all over Mr. Nipples. He’s been in hiding since then. Thank goodness I have tomorrow off.

                • Mike Pop


                • Renny Baseball

                  IETC = what?

                  In the Evaluation Committee?

                  Israeli Educational Television Center?!

                  I eschew this concept? (mine…)

                  I eat tea & crumpets?! (mine…)

                  I found 40 possible acronyms and few of these makes sense! :)


                  Am late to the party, but if anyone knows, suspense is killing me!

      • ledavidisrael

        Why would one of them be ticketed for the BP?

        With a healthy MARIANO MARTE ROBINSON GAUDIN ACEVES. Isn’t that enough for the back end of a BP during the regular season?ESP if your rotation is made up of CC AJ Sheets PETTITE and either Hughes or Joba.

        • Benjamin Kabak

          It’s called counting. If your rotation is made up of CC, A.J., Sheets, Pettitte, Hughes and Joba, that’s six starters for five spots. What exactly would you do with the sixth guy other than put him in the bullpen where he can contribute at the Big League level?

          • ledavidisrael

            AAA?? He isn’t NEEDED in the BP for the course of the season. The odd man out can still get his work in and pitch out the pen in the playoffs

  • Salty Buggah

    If only the world was perfect, we’d easily get him.

    (Btw Joe, that’s pretty well written piece right there. I’m just pointing this out because I’ve been writing papers for a week now and all of the thesis, support, conclusion stuff is magnified in my life right now)

    • Joseph Pawlikowski

      Appreciate it, man.

  • ledavidisrael

    I think that if this team took the 20.5 million paid to Wang + Pettite + Nady last year.
    Put that towards Rich Harden + Ben Sheets + Erik Bedard.
    8 million + 4 million in incentives
    8 million + 4 million in incentives
    Bedard 2 million w/ 2 million in incentives

    Possible 2010 Post Season Rotation

    CC Sabathia
    A J Burnett
    Rich Harden
    Erik Bedard

    Top of Playoff BP
    Mariano Rivera
    Joba Chamberlain
    Phil Hughes

    The upside if everyone stays healthy, no matter how unlikely is mind boggling. Think of the K/9.

    Also when this played out in my mind. Joba or Hughes would pitch in Bedards spot before he returned while the other pitched in AAA and than they could both return to pen for the playoffs and be primed for 2011.

    • JMK aka The Overshare

      Troll score: 7/10. Not bad. Good try.

      But, if serious:

    • Mike Axisa

      Bedard for $2M guaranteed and another $2M in incentives? Hahaha

      • ledavidisrael

        Isn’t it half a season of bedard? If mlbtraderumors is saying harden could fetch 8 mill for next year. Half a season of bedard wouldn’t be about 4 million????

        • Zack

          A team is going to outbid the Yankees 2m guranteed for Bedard.
          He felt uncomfortalbe answering questions from that tough Seattle media, so he’d be perfect in NY right?

    • Tom Zig

      a rotation of Sheets, Burnett, Harden, and Bedard??

      Nooooooooo thank you. Too many things could go horribly wrong.

      • ledavidisrael

        Its not like i m advocating a trade of CC HUGHES JOBA IPK AND ACEVES to make way for those 4. These 4 Have extreme upside together. Even if you get 2 of those 4 by the end of the year that rotation is > this years. Even without a joba bounce back.

        Sry yall but for 2010
        one of sheets/harden/bedard> Pettite

        • Benjamin Kabak

          one of sheets/harden/bedard> Pettite

          Based on what metric exactly? At least you know what you’re getting with Pettitte, and it’s tough to discount that certainty.

        • Matty Ice

          “Sry yall but for 2010
          one of sheets/harden/bedard> Pettite”

          I bet you would’ve said the same thing before 2009 too…..

    • MikeD

      Okay, so we sign three pitchers and get a total of one pitcher and 200 innings spread across all three! Nice try.

  • Mike bk

    do you think a salary structure similar to what we gave Andy last year would work where he gets 5.5 base, Innings bonuses: $500,000 each for 150, 160 and 170 innings pitched and $750,000 each for 180, 190, 200 and 210 innings. Roster bonuses: $100,000 for 120 days on the active 25-man roster, $200,000 for 130 days, $250,000 each for 140 and 150 days, and $400,000 each for 160, 170 and 180 days.

    In all likelihood he would make 7-8 mil (160 days 150 innings maybe) unless he was having a phenomenal year in which case we would be more than willing to pay it. Maybe slightly lower on the bonuses, but that kind of structure.

    • The Artist

      I would think Sheets would get a deal with higher incentives, since his upside is higher than Andy’s. But you’re in the ballpark with that one.

      I’d guess 5-6 guaranteed for Sheets and with incentives that could take him up to 12-13.

      • Bo

        How can Sheet’s upside be bigger?

        He didnt pitch last yr at all because of injury. Andy went 200+
        He’s never pitched in the playoffs and we all know Andys history

        • Joseph Pawlikowski

          Sheets’s upside is clearly bigger. Clearly. When he’s healthy, he’s better than Pettitte. He’s had a full year off to recover from his latest injury. If he works out, he’s a No. 1 or a No. 2.

        • Joseph Pawlikowski

          Rereading, I think you just misunderstand the concept of upside.

        • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          How can Sheet’s upside be bigger?

          Because Ben Sheets is A) younger and B) better than Andy Pettitte. Sheets just turned 31 and had a ERA+ of 134 from 2004-2008. Andy just turned 37 and has an ERA+ of 114 from 2004-2009. Sheets also wins across the board on peripherals as well.

          Is this a serious question, Bo? Do you really, actually doubt the notion that 31 year old, strikeout machine, former Cy Young candidate, former staff and league ace Ben Sheets does not have a greater UPSIDE than 37 year old, solid but consistently unspectacular #2 Andy Pettitte? You’re not serious with that, are you?

          He didnt pitch last yr at all because of injury.

          That has nothing to do with the relative upsides of Andy or Sheets. The whole point of this was to say that 2010 Ben Sheets would probably get a similar deal to what 2009 Andy Pettitte got, which is to say an incentive laden deal based on the fact that both of them were coming off of poor seasons. Sheets missed all of the prior year due to injury, while Andy pitched shittily the prior year, also due to injury. Nonetheless, 2010 Sheets would probably get a bigger deal than 2009 Pettitte, because, even while factoring in the relative injury risks, Sheets is younger (which mitigates that injury risk mightily) and… has a far higher upside. If 2009 Andy bounces back from his injury, you’ve got a legit #2/#3 on your hands. If Sheets bounces back, you’ve got a legit #1 on your hands.

          Andy went 200+

          Again, we’re talking about UPSIDE.

          And, Sheets, when healthy, routinely went 225+. Your point is thus doubly moot.

          He’s never pitched in the playoffs

          and we all know Andys history

          Oh, and:

  • The Artist

    This year’s free agent class features three of these pitchers. Erik Bedard, Rich Harden, and Ben Sheets should all be fine for Opening Day 2010, but each had trouble staying healthy in 2009.

    It’s unofficial at this point, but you could add Chien Ming Wang’s name to that list.

    • Raf

      Wang wont be ready for Opening Day, the other 3 should be.

    • Joseph Pawlikowski

      I’m willing to bet a decent sum that Wang won’t be ready by the first week of the season. Maybe he’ll be pitching in the minors by then, but I doubt he’s in the majors.

  • DonnieBaseballHallofFame

    I like Sheets, but I think Bedard may end up being the value buy out of that bunch of 3 pitchers.

    • Rob

      I agree. And out of those three I’d rather have the lefty in YS 2.0 and the only one who has previously dominated the AL Beast.

      • mustang


    • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      Erik Bedard, 2004-2009 (BAL, SEA):
      141 starts, 821.1 IP, 3.70 ERA (121+), 8.8 K/9, 3.6 BB/9, 1.321 WHIP

      Ben Sheets, 2004-2008 (MIL):
      128 starts, 839.1 IP, 3.24 ERA (134+), 8.4 K/9, 1.6 BB/9, 1.095 WHIP

      That’s right, despite missing ALL of 2009, Ben Sheets not only outproduced Bedard across the board for the past 6 years, HE ALSO PITCHED MORE INNINGS.

      Sheets >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Bedard

      • Rob

        In the weakest division in baseball…

        Of course, that’s also a nice cherry-picked range. 2004 was Bedard’s rookie year while Sheets had three full, and below-average, years under his stirrups.

        • mustang

          Bingo again that’s twice in one day you win the toast-oven.

          “In the weakest division in baseball”

          Nice touch I will throw in a matching set of steak knifes.

        • Ed

          For some of that time, the NL Central was weak. For part of that time, the Cardinals, Astros, Cubs, and Brewers were strong teams fighting it out for two playoff spots, while we headed to the last weekend of the season wondering if any team in the NL West would even reach 81 wins.

          • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

            And yet, ERA+ still says that he was much, much better than his peers (who were also facing that weak NL Central competition) on a magnitude not matched by Bedard.

            • mustang

              ” a magnitude not matched by Bedard.”

              Who faced the beasts of the AL East.

              • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

                ERA+ is league specific.

                Bedard, when judged against other AL pitchers facing AL lineups, was 21% better than they were.

                Sheets, when judged against other NL pitchers facing NL lineups, was 34% better than they were.

                If you give Sheets a discount for facing inferior lineups, it would take his total dominance down to a number still either equal to or better than Bedard.

                • mustang

                  “a number still either equal to or better than Bedard.”

                  First throw out the “equal to” you said Sheets would be better. Second you can sugarcoated all you like, but you can only theorizes what Sheets MIGHT
                  do in the AL I can tell you what Bedard did in the AL.

                • SG

                  I have no dog in this fight, but ERA+, while league-specific, does not account for the talent disparity in the leagues. The AL is probably at least 4% than the NL, so you should probably multiply AL ERA+ by 1.02 and NL ERA+ by 0.98 if you want to use it to compare players between league.

                  Obviously, this is a little crude, and certain players would translate better/worse between leagues, but it should be fairly close for most players.

                • SG

                  ***at least 4% BETTER than the NL***

      • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

        Why did you choose 2004-2009? Because it included Bedard’s worst 2 ERA+ seasons and started immediately after Sheets’ worst 3 ERA+ seasons (and bumped up Sheets’ IP total considerably because he threw more in ’04 than in any other year of his career)?

        I think the only way to do a fair comparison, if you want to pull a few years for each guy and compare them, is 2006-2009. That’s a grouping of the most recent (and, thus, most relevant) years and it cuts out the early-career struggles for each guy. I’m sorry, but when you post comments like this one it just makes you look like you have an agenda.

        • mustang


  • Bo

    I’d rather have Bedard than Sheets.

  • mustang

    We had a similar argument last year fortunately they choose Andy and that turn out great.
    Coming off an arm injury with a history of health issues, never pitched in the AL even harder the AL east, and putting him in a rotation with Andy (37 years old) and AJ (history of health issues himself).

    Let someone else take the chance PASS

    • Joseph Pawlikowski

      I don’t think we ever argued Sheets vs. Pettite. We might have, but after the Yanks signed Burnett I remember there was a short period where people were like, “let’s sign both!” and then it came out that Sheets would require surgery, which ended that talk instantly.

      • mustang

        We did maybe not as the main topic of a thread, but in discussing who would follow CC, AJ, and Wang.
        At the time people were down on Andy label DOA after the second half of 2008 and his contract demands many jumped on the Ben Sheets bandwagon.

    • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      never pitched in the AL even harder the AL east…

      Yes, but Sheets’s level of dominance in the NL extrapolates well to the AL East. He’s a hard-throwing, bat-missing strikeout machine capable of going deep into ballgames. He’s like Josh Beckett or AJ Burnett, two other guys who dominated the NL before moving to the AL East and continuing said dominance.

      • mustang

        Were either Josh Beckett or AJ Burnett coming off an arm injury when they came over to the AL east form the NL east (as compared to bitch ass NL west)?

        “hard-throwing, bat-missing strikeout machine capable of going deep into ballgames”
        He coming off an arm injury no one knows what he is going to be.

        • mustang

          NL Central not west.

      • mustang

        Weren’t you on the S.S. Ben sheets before she sunk last year?

        • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside


          For the record, I’m not advocating for us signing Sheets now. Our rotation is full.

          I just think your rationale that “Sheets hasn’t pitched in the AL East, therefore he can’t pitch in the AL East” is incorrect. Other pitchers have moved from inferior divisions into the AL East and done just fine. Not just Beckett and Burnett, but before that, Pedro, Schilling, Cone, Wells, Johnson, etc.

          Yes, the AL East is a tough division to pitch in. But no, that does not mean that every pitcher who has never yet pitched in the AL East is going to suck on arrival. Sheets is a talented strikeout pitcher, he’ll be fine here.

          • mustang

            Not pitching in the AL east is just one of a few thing but when we are comparing him to Bedard who has pitched successful in AL east it’s bit more important.

            I thinking it’s asking a lot of Mr. Sheets to come off an arm injury and move to a hard league, which he has never pitched in with the DH and a longer line-up.

            • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

              It’s asking a bit more to ask Mr. Bedard to rebound off TWO SHOULDER SURGERIES and come back to the AL East after two cake years in the AL West, which is arguably just as weak as the NL Central.

              • mustang

                But at least Mr. Bedard has not only done it he has been good at it.

                We can do this all day you just can’t go around facts even with cherry cherry-picking the stats.

  • theyankeewarrior

    Debating over injured pitchers is like discussing the trade market. It really is impossible for us to decide what’s right. We don’t know what Cashman & co. know about these guys.

    In this situation, I think all of us sane Yankee fans can agree that adding one of Sheets, Bedard & Harden would be beneficial to the 2010 club. Because the Yanks have the money, it’s a decent risk to take.

    Lets assume that if they don’t sign one of those guys it’s because 1) they’re really concerned about their arms falling off 2) the price isn’t worth it because they want to spend elsewhere 3) they really trust Joba + Hughes + their ability to make a move mid-season.

    In other words: In Cashman we trust.

    • Ed

      In this situation, I think all of us sane Yankee fans can agree that adding one of Sheets, Bedard & Harden would be beneficial to the 2010 club. Because the Yanks have the money, it’s a decent risk to take.

      I think you’re right that most (all?) of us would agree that it’s beneficial to the 2010 club.

      I think the concern is that it would probably bump Hughes or Joba to the pen, which would slow their development and be detrimental to the club in 2011 and onwards.

  • SM

    The headline has it right, Sheets is going to get in the 8-12 range and should get a 3 year deal (if he does not both his agent a some team is missing out).
    Sheets is younger than AJ and was better (at least as good if you take a league discount) than him. Even if you figure 2 WAR that is over 8M

    • Benjamin Kabak

      I’d disagree with the contention that Sheets will want a 3-year deal. I think he could get a better deal if he can stay healthy and produce this year. I also don’t think any team would be too willing to sign him to a 3-year deal.

      • Mike bk

        right for sheets the best play might be a 1 year with a mutual option where he can decline it if he produces to a higher salary level.

  • lg

    Ok…so I don’t follow all injured players or player contract/transactions as well as others by a long shot. So please forgive my ignorance if these are rather dumb questions.

    (1) I recognize that Wang won’t be ready starting day. But following this logic: “Every year there are a few free agents who were once good, but who have succumbed to injury. They’re a baseball fan’s dream. We imagine the best of all possible worlds, an incentive laden contract that protects against loss and maximizes reward. If only the front office were smart enough to understand that, they’d have a great pitcher. Alas, only one team gets the player, and it’s usually not our favorite one.” Shouldn’t the Yanks be doing all they can to secure Wang?

    (2) If Wang were to be ready midseason 2010, where would he project amongst Bedard, Harden, Sheets?

    • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      I’ll take a stab at it:

      1) Yes, the Yankees should be doing all they can to secure Wang. That being said, Wang does have red flags, and the team should not pay ANY SUM to secure Wang, they should only pay what is market-appropriate to secure Wang, since he’s had numerous injuries and had mediocre peripherals even before that. There’s a good chance that Wang never makes it back to any level of effectiveness, let alone dominance.

      So, the question of “Should we spend 5-6M to guarantee he’s around next year vs. non-tendering him to try and spend only 2-3M to see if he comes back” is a legit one, IMO. Both positions have merit.

      2) Behind all three.

      Sheets >>>>> Bedard >> Harden >>>> Wang

  • Pingback: Why They Don’t Fit, Part Two | Bronx Baseball Daily

  • lg


    Regardless if they sign any or all (ha!) of the others, I’m hoping some sort of incentivized deal gets worked out for Wang and the Yanks…we’ll see though! Thinking 2-3M and up to 6M if he has X number of starts. I kinda feel bad for him and his luck.

    • lg

      (whoops, that was meant to nest in the above comment).

  • Dan

    It certainly couldn’t hurt to add Sheets – an injured pitcher who can strike out people. They won the World Series with what they have.

    And sad to say for Chien-Ming, but he’s gone if Sheets signs.

    • Dan

      By injured, I meant “recovering injured pitcher,” of which Wang is the same, but without the strikeouts.

  • Dan

    On another note, Joba belongs in the pen.

    This starting thing is getting ridiculous.

    Why won’t they see that the Joba of 2 years ago looked like a natural successor for Mo – games will still have 9th innings once Mo retires, you know…

    • Benjamin Kabak

      Wrong thread. I think you were looking for this one.

    • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      Why won’t they see that the Joba of 2 years ago looked like a natural successor for Mo

      They do see it. It’s moot, though.

      Joba the starter is better and more important than Joba the Heir to Mo.

  • Dan

    Sorry, I just thought I’d squeeze that Joba thing in, since Sheets would be a nice one to sub in the rotation for Joba (thought the two were related – sorry…)

  • John

    TSCJ – Bedard that much better than Harden? really? I don’t necessarily disagree, but pls expound. I worry not only about Bedard’s recent injury history, but also his heart/attitude. I fear he’s the LH Carl Pavano.

    • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      Harden’s a 5 inning pitcher. In the NL.

      It takes him too long to put guys away. He spends all his ammunition in the first 5 frames, and then he’s done. I have serious reservations about signing Bedard coming off two shoulder surgeries, but he’s still probably a safer bet than Harden, who doesn’t appear to have the stamina necessary to be an AL East starter like Bedard and Sheets do.

  • John

    one additional question for the group: assuming Cash & Co. really like Sheets and they believe he is healthy enough to be ready on Opening Day and give the team 160+ IP as KLaw says. what would be the more important factor that would hold them back in signing him? dollars or years? and what are those numbers? where is the line?

  • TheZack

    Ahh, back to the Sheets debate. Tommiesmithjohncarlos, I think trying to use stats to support a Sheets signing in this one case really isn’t the best course. With all the variables (injury, NL Central, Year off, Al East etc), its pretty darn near fruitless to try and say that Sheets is clearly the best signing, will be a great/good pitcher on the Yanks etc.

    I think a better approach would be to approach it as a “luxury” signing. The Yankees can afford to overpay somewhat for Sheets and his talent, and take the risk that he might only give you half a season. Its like what the Sox did this season with Smoltz/Penny, but with a much better, younger pitcher.

    And I don’t think that should stop the Yankees from signing another innings eater type pitcher if the right one is there, as you can never have enough depth.

    Having AJ, Sheets, and a year older Pettitte in the rotation does seem to suggest there will be some DL stints…

    • mustang

      “Having AJ, Sheets, and a year older Pettitte in the rotation does seem to suggest there will be some DL stints…”

      Nailed it.

  • Rob

    Sheets would be a great addition, but my wife’s family is from Milwaukee & says that if the wind blows the wrong way this guy winds up on the DL. Also, they don’t think he has the make-up for NY, would fold under the intense pressure.

  • Pingback: Why They Don’t Fit, Part Two | Bronx Baseball Daily