6:38pm: T.R. Sullivan believes that now the New York Yankees have signed Andy Pettitte, Ben Sheets’ options are closing up.
“Anytime somebody signs another starting pitcher, that obviously lessens the competition,” Rangers president Nolan Ryan told Sullivan. “Obviously, Andy and Ben are at two different points in their careers, but I don’t think Andy signing hurts anything.”
Sullivan notes that the Rangers are the only team that has publicly stated interest in Sheets, but the process continues to move slowly. The Rangers are reluctant to offer a multiyear contract. Sheets wants at least a two-year deal while the Rangers are looking one year with a possible club option.
11:26am: The latest on the Rangers and Ben Sheets comes via a T.R. Sullivan report from yesterday afternoon. Sullivan wrote:
The Rangers remain deeply concerned about the medical reports. Sheets’ agent, Casey Close, is looking for a multi-year contract. The Rangers would prefer just a one-year deal, possibly with an option. The two sides have discussed financial parameters, but there hasn’t been an official offer from either side. Close would like to get other teams involved, most notably the two in New York.
If there’s another team infatuated with Sheets, it hasn’t leaked to the media yet. As Sullivan wrote, the Mets are focused on Oliver Perez. The Yankees are in serious talks with Andy Pettitte. The Dodgers are looking elsewhere, and the Orioles "just don’t seem interested." Doug Melvin won’t rule Sheets out for the Brewers but does not expect to re-sign him.
Who else needs pitching and can afford Sheets? We can’t rule out the A’s or Cardinals. The Pirates and D’Backs seem to be budgeting less than Sheets wants.