It sucks to be Gary Sheffield right now. Yesterday, the nine time All Star was released by the Detroit Tigers, his role with the team presumably being filled by the one dimensional Marcus Thames and newly-acquired Josh Anderson.
It’s hard to feel bad for somebody like Sheffield. He’s Barry Bonds without all the glitz and glamour and hype. However, I feel for the aging slugger coming into the 2009 season.
Where is he going to fit? How long will it take to get number 500?
People have said Tampa Bay, which is absolutely asinine. Why would a young team hire an old, all-bat, no-field, designated hitter when they’ve already got Pat Burrell to fill that role. Off the bench, they have Gabe Kapler, Matt Joyce and Ben Zobrist, all versatile players who form a well rounded and deep backup corps. Yeah, Sheffield’s from Tampa, but they have no need for him.
American League teams that traditionally need power bats to DH or play right field or first are no longer looking. The Royals acquired Mark Jacobs. The Orioles grabbed Luke Scott last year. Jason Kubel broke out for the Twins. The A’s have Holliday and Giambi and Cust. Even the Mariners have plenty to work with.
Sheffield will end up in the National League in a bench role. Ruben Amaro, the Phillies’ general manager, has expressed interest. If they’re looking for a power right handed bat off the bench to complement Matt Stairs though, you have to believe they can find somebody who’ll come cheaper and with less risk than Sheffield. I’m looking at you Frank Thomas and Wily Mo Pena…
If the Phillies don’t sign him, he’s hinted he’d like to return to the Marlins. The only problem is, Florida already has a completely right-handed bench and they just signed Wes Helms to a guaranteed contract. So, no go.
I’m looking for Sheffield to end up in Colorado. Of all the places that make even an iota of sense, Colorado seems to be it. He’d be the only real power off the bench and he could play right field in place of Brad Hawpe against LHP. It would obviously be a leap of faith, but one that Colorado should make.