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Yanks Should Investigate Ben Sheets

By Paul Catalano ~ July 20th, 2010. Filed under: Digest Contributors.

With all the rumors flying around the Yankees getting a starter to fill in for Andy PettitteTed Lilly, Roy Oswalt, Fausto Carmona, Joakim Soria, Jake Westbrook, I’ll add one named. Ben Sheets.

OK, insert injury joke here—true, Sheets is a shoulder injury waiting to happen, but Sheets offers something a few things the other guys don’t.

Let’s look at some of the other possibilities. First off, Lilly is likely to get pounded in the American league—his fastball sits at 86 mph and is plummeting. Don’t get me wrong, he’s a quality pitcher who can spot his pitches, and would still command a high price tag. But in the hitting heavy AL East, a fastball at 86, which he trusts less and less—using it 31% of the time instead of 46% last year—won’t cut it in October. Just ask slow-baller Jamie Moyer, who has an ERA a hair under 5.oo the past 3 years in interleague games.

Next, Joakim Soria. The Royals aren’t trading Joakim Soria. Forget it.

Fausto Carmona and Jake Westbrook are quality targets, but would command prohibitive prospects in return, something the Yankees already said they are reluctant to do. Carmona is a former ace, is still young and has pitched very well this season. Westbrook is a solid veteran, a groundball machine, which teams love in the postseason and wants to remain in Cleveland. Cleveland has already said they don’t want to trade Westbrook, which is GM-speak for “It’s going to be expensive to get him.”

Next up is Roy Oswalt. He has a gargantuan contract and is signed through 2011. Also, Oswalt doesn’t have any experience pitching in the AL East in high-pressure October playoff games. Too many big-name NL pitchers folded under those conditions (Randy Johnson, Kevin Brown, I’m looking at you.)

However, the main point is that Ben Sheets brings something the others don’t— a relatively reasonable price tag. Oakland, out of the AL race, signed Sheets to a one-year 10 million dollar contract so he could be trade bait. Sheets, after a terrible start has been pitching better of late, with a .220 BAA and a 1.42 ERA. Of his 11 last starts, 9 have been quality, pitching a 3/73 ERA in those 11 starts. That said, Sheets hasn’t been lights out, not like Oswalt or Carmona and is a sneeze away from the DL.

But what’s in it for the Yankees is that Sheets provides nice coverage. Besides just filling in for Pettitte, should Burnett flame out or should Vasquez or Hughes regress, Sheets could step in and would be a step up from Chad Gaudin, or Sergio “Who Knows What You May Get” Mitre (3 runs in 4 2/3 IP in AAA yesterday). And, come playoff time, when rotations get shorter, he could fill in the shaky Yankee bullpen (and by that I mean Joba Chamberlain).

Now if the A’s asked for the world—say Jesus Montero or Manuel Banuelos, then forget it. But Sheets, while pitching better isn’t Roy Oswalt, Joakim Soria or Cliff Lee and the A’s know it. What he is a relatively low-price, low-risk trade target.

Again, the benefits of Sheets are the expiring contract and the relatively smaller asking price (Juan Miranda, Kevin Russo, Mark Melancon, Marcos Vechionacci?). The Yankees are saying publically they want to full the hole from within, but what do you expect them to say? If the A’s ask the world, forget it. But it’s worth exploring.

Paul Catalano is an aspiring sportswriter who’s day job is as Production Manager for Field & Stream, Outdoor Life & Shot Business magazines. He has written often for his own blog at And a Player to be Named Later since 2007. His articles have been picked up by Dugout Central, Foxsports.com, Lindys.com among others. Before that, Paul got married to the lovely Elizabeth Ryan, got his Master’s in Writing from Emerson College, attended his first Yankee game at 9 years old, got his first base hit at 5 years old and was born.
Paul Catalano
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3 Responses to Yanks Should Investigate Ben Sheets

  1. ben

    waiting for silva to say trade montero for him

  2. Mike Silva

    The only players I would trade Montero for are Cliff Lee and Soria.

  3. John McKibbin

    You fine Yankee fans’ heads have all disappeared up where the moon don’t shine. For heaven’s sake, pull ‘em out!

    My Toronto Blue Jays’ current five starters are 30-25 won-lost and earn about $2.3 million. That’s not each, that’s all together.

    Rogers Communications Corp. owns the Jays and will trade you any of the starters for a real good cup of coffee and, say, $20 million. (Rogers is in it for the dough, not winning.) Amortized over four years, that’s about $5 million a year plus a salary close to the minimum.

    For the trade to satisfy the Commissioner’s Office, you’d probably have to throw in the useless Chad Gaudin along with the cup of coffee. Jays would designate Gaudin for assignment the next day. You could get him back off the waiver wire. Nobody else would want him.

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