Ben Sheets hit 91mph in his showcase workout yesterday in Louisiana. According to MetsBlog, the Mets had a representative in attendance among the 20 or so scouts and reps on hand. Jon Heyman of SI.com said that he talked to a couple of scouts who were very impressed and felt they were watching ‘the old Ben Sheets.
All along, I have felt that Ben Sheets could be the key to the pitching market. Once teams knew the condition he was in, they would start to make moves on the starting pitching front. Teams didn’t want to overbid for Pineiro, when Ben Sheets could be an ace in the hole.
Now that the Mets have missed out on Bengie Molina, many including SI’s Jon Heyman, believe that the Mets will turn their focus toward pitching. The Mets are thought to be interested in Ben Sheets, Joel Pineiro, and John Smoltz.
SI.com’s Jon Heyman also thinks the Mets will try to make some “positive” news after missing out on Molina and after the whole Carlos Beltran fiasco.
The Mets, Cubs, and Rangers are thought to be the favorites to sign Ben Sheets, who did not pitch in 2009. Sheets is thought by most, of being capable of getting a Brad Penny Type deal (one year deal worth seven to eight million, with tons of incentives) Although, the Rangers are listed as a favorite, I cannot see why the Rangers would have interest. They already have signed the injury prone Rich Harden, and adding another injury prone, costly starter just doesn’t seem smart. So in the end, I believe it will come down to the Mets and Cubs in the Ben Sheets sweepstakes.
As for Pineiro, the Mets, Dodgers, and Angels are all said to be interested. Pineiro won 15 games and loss 12 with an earned run average of 3.49 in 2009.
As for Smoltz, the Mets are the only team that I have heard connected to him, but this may not be the case now that the pitching market is really starting to take shape.