With Bobby Abreu now under contract for 2007, it seemed like a foregone conclusion that the Yankees would not exercise Gary Sheffield‘s $13MM option. He seems poised to head up a small group of free agent right fielders.
However, Buster Olney makes a good argument for the Yankees to exercise his option even with Abreu in the fold. Remember, the Yankees are a team Olney knows well; he wrote a book about them. Sure, Sheffield may not be worth the full $13MM next year. But one of New York’s competitive advantages is its ability to take on salaries. How many teams would salivate at the idea of getting Sheff on a one-year deal to minimize their risk? Think Theo Epstein wouldn’t jump on that? It’s like last winter’s Furcal contract, only better.
After considering Olney’s argument, I realize that it would be silly to let a premium player walk away from a reasonable short-term contract just because of a position logjam. As many have speculated, Sheffield could learn to play first base.