After missing all of 2009 with a torn flexor tendon in his right elbow, Ben Sheets is looking to hook on with a club for 2010. Reportedly, Sheets' agent is seeking roughly $12MM, similar to what he made in his last major league season in 2008 when he posted a 3.09 ERA.
An item on the ESPN Rumors page titled "The Ben Sheets Five" says there are at least five teams which could use the 31-year-old's services. The New York Mets are obviously in need of starting pitching and could be willing to gamble on his return. The Cubs are mentioned as a fit, but they could also afford to stand pat with a rotation headlined by Carlos Zambrano, Ryan Dempster, and Ted Lilly. The Dodgers are also listed, but money is obviously an issue for owner Frank McCourt.
In the American League, the Rays, Mariners, and Angels are mentioned as potential destinations. The Halos could use Sheets to re-load after losing John Lackey to Boston. Jack Zduriencik could be looking to add a veteran arm to the rotation as the club has shown a willingness to spend this winter. Tampa Bay on the other hand might not be willing to spend big on Sheets as they find themselves with a reasonably-priced, yet deep, stable of starters. The Yankees were once said to be interested, but now that they have acquired Javier Vazquez to round out their rotation, it seems unlikely that they will pursue him.
Now that most of the top starters in a shallow free agent pool have been swallowed up, we're likely to see an increased interest in Sheets. By the same token, it doesn't appear that there are any great fits for the four-time All-Star. One has to wonder if he can command anything close to the $12MM he is seeking.