Ben Sheets Rumors

Quick Hits: Utley, Wainwright, Harris, Young, Sheets

Some links for St. Patrick's Day as players don green uniforms in Arizona and Florida…

  • Chase Utley has made "minimal" improvement since taking a shot for his injured knee, according to Jon Heyman of (on Twitter). Though Utley can hit and field, he can't run, so Wilson Valdez will play second base for the time being.
  • Adam Wainwright told Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that he's anticipating a high-stakes rehab, since the Cardinals may not exercise his $21MM option for 2012-13 if he struggles. "There's a lot of money resting on me coming back healthy next year," he said.
  • Willie Harris can opt out of his contract with the Mets on March 27th, according to Andy Martino of the New York Daily News (on Twitter). There seems to be a good chance that Harris will make the team and the opt-out won't be an issue.
  • Michael Young told Tim MacMahon of that he has found it tough to develop a rhythm this spring, partly because he has been bouncing from one position to another.
  • Not surprisingly, Ben Sheets isn't negotiating with any teams, according to's Buster Olney (on Twitter). Sheets' 2010 season ended early when he needed flexor tendon surgery.

Youngest Remaining Free Agents

We're weeks into Spring Training now, so few notable free agents remain. But some players (min. 50 PAs) and pitchers (min. 20 IP) remain unsigned. Here's a look at the remaining free agents who will play the 2011 season while no older than 32:

  • Willy Aybar (28) – The Rays declined Aybar's option and non-tendered him, but he can play first, second and third and has a career .341 OBP. He wouldn't be in line for more than a minor league deal if he signs. 
  • Jeremy Bonderman (28) – Bonderman may sit the season out, but you have to think he can help someone (the Cardinals?) despite the 5.53 ERA he posted in 171 innings last year. He's only 28 and he has recovered from shoulder surgery.
  • Manny Corpas (28) - Corpas will miss the 2011 season as he recovers from Tommy John surgery. He posted a 4.62 ERA with 6.8 K/9 and 3.2 BB/9 in 62 1/3 innings last year, and defense independent pitching stats suggest his ERA should have been lower, so he would have drawn interest if healthy.
  • Hank Blalock (30) - Blalock averaged 29 homers per season from 2003-05, when he made two All-Star teams. That power was nowhere to be seen last year, when he posted a .254/.319/.349 line in 69 plate appearances for the Rays. Blalock just turned 30 last fall, but he probably needs to rebuild value in the minor leagues to make a complete comeback.
  • Bobby Crosby (31) – Three teams were interested in the former AL Rookie of the Year earlier in the winter, but he remains on the open market. In 189 plate appearances for Pittsburgh and Arizona last year, Crosby hit .220/.294/.298 and played all four infield positions. 
  • Ryan Church (32) - Church, who was traded with Crosby from Pittsburgh to Arizona last summer, also struggled in 2010. He posted a .201/.265/.352 line, though he had 59 extra base hits as recently as 2007.
  • Ben Sheets (32) – If he wasn't going to miss the season with flexor tendon surgery, Sheets would likely have found a team by now. He won't sign this year.

Odds & Ends: Padres, Sheets, Beltran, Rangers

More links for Wednesday, after another impressive outing from Ubaldo Jimenez

Sheets Requires Flexor Tendon Surgery

Ben Sheets needs flexor tendon surgery, according to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle (via Twitter).'s Buster Olney suggested Sheets could require the surgery earlier today (Twitter link). The right-hander, who first underwent the operation last year, will presumably miss the rest of the 2010 season.

The A's signed Sheets to a $10MM deal last winter and the 32-year-old responded with a 4.53 ERA, 6.3 K/9 and 3.2 BB/9 in 119.1 innings. Sheets was drawing interest as a trade chip as recently as last week, but he will not be traded in 2010. Even if Sheets recovers from the surgery, finding a guaranteed contract won't be easy.

Olney’s Latest: Tigers, Hart, Sheets

Injuries could play a part in increasing trading before Saturday's deadline, writes's Buster Olney (Insider link). With a handful of teams, most notably the Tigers, seeing key players head to the disabled list, many clubs' needs are in flux. Detroit, for instance, had been focusing on acquiring a starting pitcher, but with Brandon Inge, Carlos Guillen, and Magglio Ordonez all recently placed on the DL, the team may need to look into bats as well. Here are the other highlights of Olney's column:

  • If the Tigers pursue an outfielder, they could ask about Jayson Werth, Jose Guillen, or Jeff Francoeur. Dave Dombrowski has said he won't trade top prospects for rental players though, according to this tweet by Tom Gage of the Detroit News.
  • Corey Hart's hand injury doesn't appear serious, but one GM tells Olney: "If [the Brewers] are going to get anything in a trade, he's got to play before the deadline and show he's healthy."
  • Scouts had noticed a dip in Ben Sheets' velocity and less use of his breaking ball before the right-hander hit the DL with elbow trouble. Olney notes that Oakland's "Matt Holliday plan" has been a bust in Sheets' case, since his injury means they're stuck with him.
  • Olney hears from a GM that there's "a lot of conversation about a lot of players" happening right now, meaning we could see a flurry of trade activity this week.

Sheets Headed To Disabled List

A's pitcher Ben Sheets has re-injured his elbow, forcing him to the disabled list, according to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle.  The hurler also says that he "might be" out for the remainder of the season (link goes to Twitter).  With Sheets sidelined, Oakland has lost a trade chip.

Billy Beane & Co. signed Sheets to a one-year, $10MM deal in January with the hope of dealing him mid-season if the club wasn't in contention.  Earlier today, the GM said that "it would behoove" the A's to hang on to the right-hander, though now it doesn't appear that they have much of a choice in the matter.

The Mets, Phillies, and Rangers are just some of the teams that have been keeping an eye on the 32-year-old.  Sheets has a 4.53 ERA with 6.3 K/9 and 3.2 BB/9 on the year but has pitched well in recent outings.

Odds & Ends: Hart, Angels, Blue Jays, Mariners

Some links for Saturday as Roy Oswalt prepares to make what might be the final start of his Astros' career…

A’s Not Close To Moving Ben Sheets

The A’s are not in a hurry to trade Ben Sheets, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. The club would listen to offers, but the A’s like having Sheets around and aren’t under pressure to shed payroll. The right-hander provides innings and leadership, so the A’s are content to keep him.’s Buster Olney hears that the A’s aren’t involved in trade talks involving Sheets or others at the moment (Twitter link). Olney reports that rival teams are not convinced that Sheets can be a difference-maker.

Earlier today,’s Jayson Stark reported that the A’s would absorb salary in a trade for Sheets and were ready to deal the righthander. Just yesterday it appeared that interest in Sheets was picking up and the Phillies appeared to be a suitor. That momentum seems to have disappeared, but we can safely say that Sheets could be had and teams do have some interest.

Stark On Lilly, Indians, Astros, Dodgers

The starting pitching market may be ‘mediocre’ if you ask officials around the major leagues, as’s Jayson Stark did, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t tons of rumors out there with just over a week before the deadline. Here they are:

  • Six teams or more are interested in Ted Lilly, who will almost certainly get traded. The Tigers, Mets and Dodgers have interest, but the Yankees probably won’t be involved. The Cubs are not willing to pick up any of Lilly’s salary and probably won’t have to.
  • The A’s, on the other hand, will pick up much of the $4MM or so remaining on Ben Sheets’ salary and are ready to deal him.
  • The Indians are willing to deal one of Jake Westbrook or Fausto Carmona for a “compelling” package, but not both.
  • They’re also growing more and more confident that they’ll be able to trade Kerry Wood. If they don't strike a deal before the deadline, they could do so after Wood clears waivers in August.
  • The Yankees are kicking tires on many starters, including Westbrook and Dan Haren.
  • The Astros would have to be “overwhelmed” to move Brett Myers (as FOX Sports reported) or Wandy Rodriguez. Myers has a mutual option, so there’s no guarantee he returns in 2011. I find it hard to believe that the Astros wouldn’t deal him for a good-but-not-great group.
  • The Marlins appear to have decided to focus on extending Dan Uggla, instead of trading him.
  • The Dodgers have told rival teams that they have $2-3MM to play with.

Odds & Ends: Haren, Cordero, Phillies, Rangers

Links for Wednesday, as Pedro Alvarez keeps clubbing homers…