Around The Majors: Sheets, LaRoche, and More

Ben Sheets, who after refusing to throw for teams early in the offseason, will apparently put his repaired right arm on display for suitors. Sheets, 31, has drawn interest from many teams, though it has generally been tempered because of his exorbitant contract demands for a pitcher with injury problems. Sheets has asked for a $10-12 million deal for at least two years. While interest in him is there, those numbers have scared off most teams looking at him, after missing the year with flexor tendon surgery on his throwing arm.

Sheets has put up ace-quality numbers when he is healthy, although he makes an annual visit to the DL in most seasons of his career. He has a career ERA of 3.72, career WHIP of 1.20, and career K/9 of 7.6. His best statistical season was 2004, even though the W-L record may be deceiving, he posted an astounding 8.25 K/BB ratio, and recorded a 20 strikeout game against the Atlanta Braves.

The Chicago Cubs have had discussions with Sheets lately, though they do not have the money that Sheets is looking for. The Rangers would have signed Sheets last offseason, had he not needed surgery. The Rangers have, however, signed Rich Harden, so they may have reached their quota of injury prone pitchers. The Mariners, Orioles, Yankees, and Mets are believed to have some interest.

Free agent 1B Adam LaRoche has agreed to a deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks worth $5.5 million over 1 year. This comes after the well for LaRoche dried up after he turned down a 2-year $17.5 million deal from the San Francisco Giants. The Giants signed Aubrey Huff and moved on. The Atlanta Braves do not get a compensation pick, because they did not offer LaRoche (Type B) arbitration.

Remaining 1B available include Hank Blalock, Carlos Delgado, Mike Jacobs, Ryan Garko, and Russell Branyan.

A name that has been thrown around as possible moving to 1B is Jermaine Dye. Dye has had terrible outfield defense, and at age 35, teams are wary of putting him out there full time. He was in discussions with the Texas Rangers before they signed Vladimir Guerrero. Dye has shown interest in moving to 1B if it would improve his contract offers. The San Diego Padres and Chicago Cubs have shown lukewarm interest. An ideal fit for Dye would be as DH in the American League, though if a National League team put him at 1B, they would get middle of the order power numbers. From 2004-09, Dye averaged 31 HR per season, only A-Rod has averaged more per year in the AL in that span. Signing Dye (Type A) would not cost a pick, as the White Sox did not offer arbitration.

Yesterday, the New York Mets began construction on a Mets Hall of Fame outside the Jackie Robinson Rotunda. The Mets Hall of Fame will be adjacent to the Team Store. The move was announced during the season in response to criticism about a lack of Mets history.

Till Next Time