Heading into the offseason, Ben Sheets was at the top of my "Do Not Touch" list. The guy can't seem to stay healthy and last year he was shut down due to an elbow problem late in the year.
Prior to the injury, Sheets was said to want somewhere in the $100M range. Since then, the economy has tanked, teams have apparently become more frugal, or stingy, and Sheets' value has taken a serious nosedive.
The Daily News' Mark Feisand is reporting that the Yankees will make a two-year offer to sheets for $30M
. Quite a drop from the $100M he was seeking earlier this season, and also a risk worth taking, I believe.
Sheets started out his career as a workhorse, pitching more than 150+ innings as a rookie, then over 200 innings for the next three seasons. In 2005 he threw 156, 106 in 2006, 141 in 2007 and then 198 last year. If you're a pessimist, you may think the fact that he was able to nearly finish the season in his walk year, but none of the previous three. If you're an optimist, you could say he finally rebuilt his stamina and arm strength.
Either way, $30M for 2 seems like a bargain to me. Sheets should be extremely motivated, if he pitches well for the Yanks he would hit the free agent market again at the age of 32, plenty young to sign a monster deal like the one he was looking for this Summer. If the injury bug bites him, well, this isn't much more than they wasted on Pavano per year, and he was on the books for 4, it would only be two years of pain, no pun intended.
More importantly, signing Sheets would fill one of the holes in the rotation and make the CC Sabathia situation a little less dire. Put simply, if the choice is between 5 years/$80M+ for A.J. Burnett or Derek Lowe, I vote for Sheets in a heartbeat.
My only concern is that if a guy like Sheets is going to sign short-term for a somewhat discounted rate, obviously to pump his value up and get his big contract a couple years down the road, wouldn't he want to pitch somewhere that's pitcher-friendly?