Ben Sheets Rumors
Ben Sheets will retire after he pitches tomorrow, Mark Bowman of MLB.com reports (on Twitter). Sheets, who joined the Braves midseason after missing the entire 2011 campaign, said he will never pitch again.
Sheets, 34, made eight starts for the Braves this summer after missing a year to recover from flexor tendon surgery. He posted a 3.54 ERA with 6.1 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9 in 48 1/3 innings for Atlanta this year, re-establishing himself as a legitimate MLB starter.
The Brewers selected Sheets with the tenth overall pick in the 1999 draft and he spent most of his career in Milwaukee. He put together a number of strong seasons with the Brewers, including a memorable 2004 campaign. Sheets posted a 2.70 ERA with 264 strikeouts and just 32 walks in 237 innings that year, finishing eighth in the Cy Young balloting. In ten MLB seasons, Sheets has a 94-96 record, a 3.78 ERA and 1323 strikeouts in 1595 2/3 innings. He has earned more than $52MM as a professional, according to Baseball-Reference.
Between baseball's two Central divisions, at least six teams figure to be buyers, and more could emerge depending on how the coming weeks play out. The White Sox, Tigers, Indians, Reds, Pirates, and Cardinals could all add pieces prior to July 31, and here are some links pertaining to those clubs...
- The Tigers are telling teams that top prospect Nick Castellanos is unavailable in any trade "at least right now," according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today (on Twitter).
- Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports echoes that sentiment, tweeting that he'd be "very surprised" if the Tigers move Castellanos for a rental (Twitter link).
- The Cardinals were one of the teams in on Ben Sheets prior to his signing with the Braves, tweets Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, who adds that the Cards continue to look for upgrades to their rotation.
- Cardinals top prospect Shelby Miller has struggled in 2012, but B.J. Rains of FOX Sports Midwest quotes GM John Mozeliak as saying, "Clearly we're still very high on him" (Twitter link).
- The Indians announced that Trevor Crowe has been released from Triple-A Columbus (on Twitter). The former No. 14 overall pick is now 28 years old and has managed just a .736 OPS in parts of five Triple-A seasons. He batted .245/.295/.329 in three Major League stints.
After missing two years due to elbow injuries, righty Ben Sheets made a triumphant comeback start today as a member of the Braves, tossing six scoreless innings against the Mets for the win. Should Sheets manage a dozen decent starts for the Braves, the minor league signing will stand as a shrewd under-the-radar move by GM Frank Wren. Today's shrewd, under-the-radar links:
- "I feel like myself. That's one thing I can say I never felt like in Oakland," Sheets told reporters today including Carroll Rogers of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Sheets signed a one-year, $10MM contract with the A's prior to the 2010 season despite missing all of '09.
- "It's just as necessary for the Yankees to have young players with a few years of control as it is for the Twins or the A's," GM Billy Beane explained to Tyler Kepner of the New York Times yesterday. The A's GM has been trading away players further from free agency lately, but this year Beane's club is surprisingly in the mix for a wild card spot.
- Scouts from the Yankees, Blue Jays, Braves, Mets, Reds, Padres and Nationals have attended recent Francisco Liriano starts, report Phil Mackey and Darren Wolfson of 1500ESPN.com, though some of those clubs may have had other interests. Slugger Josh Willingham would require a lopsided offer and seems likely to stay put, as we've heard before. Willingham is signed through 2014 and is interested in staying with the Twins beyond his current contract.
- Yankees scouting director Damon Oppenheimer had Mike Trout second on his board for the 2009 draft, after only Stephen Strasburg, writes John Harper of the New York Daily News. The Angels had two consecutive picks at 24 and 25, with the Yankees at 29, and Oppenheimer thought he might get Trout once the Halos took another high school outfielder in Randal Grichuk at 24. Of course, Angels scouting director Eddie Bane took Trout at 25. Trout told Harper he's motivated by all the teams that passed on him.
- The Diamondbacks signed Dominican shortstop Sergio Alcantara, according to Baseball America's Ben Badler. BA says Alcantara draws praise for his defense, and the D'Backs had been favored to sign him. BA ranked Alcantara 18th overall in the July 2nd class.
Ben Sheets, who last pitched for the 2010 Athletics, will start for the Braves this Sunday, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports. The right-hander started two games at Double-A and posted a 5.06 ERA with a 10K/1BB ratio after signing with Atlanta. Here are today's NL East links...
- Braves center fielder Michael Bourn believes the Nationals were interested in him last summer, Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post reports. The Nationals, who continue to seek a long-term answer in center field, are expected to pursue Bourn when he hits free agency this coming offseason. Bourn told Kilgore he’ll take his time deciding on where to sign his next contract. “Right now, I’m focused on this season right now,” he said. “I think I’m on a good team right now in the Atlanta Braves.”
- Chris Schwinden cleared waivers after being claimed four times in the span of five weeks, Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com reports (on Twitter). The right-hander’s playing in the Mets’ minor league system, but he’s no longer on their 40-man roster.
Nick Swisher hits free agency this coming offseason and Curtis Granderson’s contract expires following the 2013 season, so the Yankees face questions about the composition of their outfield at the same time that they're aiming to lower payroll below the $189MM luxury tax threshold. Joel Sherman discusses what he calls a looming outfield deficiency in his latest column at the New York Post. The highlights:
- There is “pretty much zero possibility” the Yankees will retain Swisher if they are serious about lowering payroll below $189MM by 2014, Sherman writes. Swisher has “done a hell of a job” in New York, GM Brian Cashman told Sherman.
- The Yankees’ best outfield prospects still need minor league seasoning. Immediate solutions are “not coming from within,” Cashman said.
- Sherman suggests the Yankees don’t want to reunite with Melky Cabrera, the former Yankee outfielder who’s now enjoying success in San Francisco as he approaches free agency.
- Cashman said the Yankees are not looking to address future outfield issues at the upcoming trade deadline, however. “You would like to have security and a comfort level. But we are not going to find that now, so why worry about it?”
- The Yankees offered Ben Sheets a minor league contract after watching him throw, Sherman reports. The Mets didn’t have interest in Sheets, who signed with the Braves.
With nearly 81 games in the books, the Braves signed Ben Sheets to a minor league deal earlier today as the team hopes he can help bolster its rotation in the second half of the season. Here's the latest from Turner Field...
- Look for Atlanta to join the pursuit of Zack Greinke's services if the team can secure him long term for closer to $15MM per season than $20MM, tweets David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Greinke, 28, is enjoying a strong season in his second year with the Brewers after being acquired from the Royals in December 2010. The right-hander has posted a 2.82 ERA with 9.0 K/9 and 1.9 BB/9 through 16 starts.
- The Braves were among a series of teams scouting Francisco Liriano today during his start against the Royals, reports Phil Mackey of 1500ESPN.com (via Twitter). While Liriano failed to turn in a quality start on Sunday, the former All-Star has improved his performance each month of the season thus far. The 28-year-old signed a one-year, $5.5MM deal with the Twins in January and will be an unrestricted free agent after the 2012 season.
- Count Bryce Harper among Chipper Jones' supporters for his bid to be added to the National League All-Star roster through the Final Vote competition, writes Mark Zuckerman of NatsInsider.com. The 19-year-old rookie, who is competing with Jones for a spot on the team, said that a future Hall of Famer should be able to go to the All-Star Game during his last season. "If I was going to make a vote, I'd go vote for Chip."
1:25 pm: Braves GM Frank Wren spoke with reporters, including Dave O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, after watching Sheets' bullpen session. "You look at him being a guy who, if the progression goes as we hope, that he could join our rotation in the next few weeks. What we just saw in the bullpen was very impressive."
11:53 am: The Braves announced that they have signed pitcher Ben Sheets to a minor league deal. The right-hander will make his first start on July 4th for the team's Double-A affiliate.
Sheets, 33, will now work his way towards returning to a big league mound for the first time since July 19th, 2010 when he was with the A's. The Louisiana native had a 4.53 ERA with 6.3 K/9 and 3.2 BB/9 through 20 starts that season with Oakland before having to undergo flexor tendon surgery.
As MLBTR first reported, Sheets threw for scouts from the Phillies, Braves, Yankees, and Angels two weeks ago. The pitcher apparently wanted to wait until he was 100% before returning to baseball.
Ben Sheets is in a Braves uniform and warming up in the team's bullpen as they get set to take on the Nationals, tweets David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Sheets has presumably signed with Atlanta but no announcement has been made yet.
Righty Ben Sheets threw for scouts today in Monroe, Louisiana, MLBTR has learned. Scouts from the Phillies, Braves, Yankees, and Angels were in attendance.
Sheets, 33, signed a one-year, $10MM deal with the Athletics in January 2010 despite missing all of the '09 season due to a partial tear in the flexor tendon near his right elbow. He made 20 middling starts for the A's in 2010 before going down for a second flexor tendon procedure in August. At the time, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reported that Sheets actually had three procedures done on his elbow, including Tommy John surgery.
Word is that Sheets didn't want to return to baseball unless he felt 100%, and he'd like to help a team down the stretch. Assuming he flashes his old form in throwing sessions, Sheets will be a popular free agent this summer.
Derek Jeter, Ryan Howard and Derrek Lee aren’t the only former CAA clients agent Casey Close will continue to represent now that he’s at Excel Sports Management. Close told MLBTR that he still represents Tyler Clippard, Michael Cuddyer, Alex Gordon, Jerry Hairston Jr., Scott Hairston, Casey Kotchman, Ben Sheets, Marcus Thames and Jamey Wright.