Gary Sheffield Rumors

Gary Sheffield Retires

Gary Sheffield has officially filed his retirement papers, according to George A. King III of the New York Post. After 22 seasons with the Marlins, Dodgers, Brewers, Yankees, Braves, Padres, Tigers and Mets, the 42-year-old is ready to retire. He says his numbers have earned him a shot a Cooperstown.

"I am sure it will be mentioned and debated, but from my standpoint I know who is in the Hall of Fame," Sheffield said. "A lot of them don't belong in the Hall of Fame. If someone wants to debate me, check the stats."

Sheffield posted a .292/.393/.514 line with 509 homers and 1676 RBI in the majors. The nine-time All-Star and five-time Silver Slugger recipient won a batting title and has a career OPS+ of 140. Sheffield came up as a shortstop before transitioning to third base and then the outfield. Sheffield, who earned about $168MM in his career, according to Baseball-Reference, ranks 24th all-time in career home runs.

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Gary Sheffield Is “99.9 Percent” Sure Of Retirement

Gary Sheffield is "99.9%" sure he's going to retire from baseball, according to a radio interview the veteran slugger conducted with ESPN 1040 in Tampa Bay (and reported on by Joe Smith of the St. Petersburg Times). 

Sheffield was hopeful of a contract with the Rays and met with Joe Maddon last month, though the manager said that the dinner meeting was just an opportunity get to know the Tampa native, not to broach the subject of a deal.  Sheffield said he felt a "little disrespected" that the Rays didn't contact him in the wake of the meeting.

The 42-year-old last played in 2009 and posted a very respectable .276/372/.451 slash line in 312 plate appearances with the Mets.  If Sheffield did manage to find another contract, you'd think it would have to be as a pinch-hitter or as a DH with an American League club given his -25.9 UZR/150 as a corner outfielder in 2009.  If Sheffield retires, his 509 career homers and nine All-Star appearances will undoubtedly garner some attention on the 2015 Hall of Fame ballot.

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Odds & Ends: Counsell, Ibanez, Johnson, Sheffield

Exactly one year ago, the Angels signed Hideki Matsui. Today, the slugger finalized his one-year agreement with the A's. Here are today's links…

Damon, Sheffield Interested In Rays

11:16pm: Johnny Damon told Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times that he'd like to play for the Rays. Damon said earlier this offseason that he'd like to re-join the Yankees.

4:07pm: Gary Sheffield told Steve Kornacki of that he wants to play next year and that the Tampa Bay Rays are his first choice. Sheffield, who has ruled out a return to Detroit, wants to play for a competitive team. He says one team offered him an everyday job last year, but he turned the gig down because of doubts that the club could compete.

Sheffield batted .276/.372/.451 in 312 plate appearances for the 2009 Mets. It seems unlikely that National League teams would be comfortable allowing Sheffield to patrol the outfield on a daily basis, as he's now 42. Sheffield was born in Tampa and would like to play close to home.

Odds & Ends: Gross, Cubs, Dunn, Ellis, Pujols

Links for the final day of the 2010 regular season…

Jack Of All Trades: Gary Sheffield

How does a player rack up 509 home runs, post a career OPS+ of 140 (better than Reggie Jackson, Chuck Klein and Al Kaline), make nine All-Star teams…and get traded five times?

Ask Gary Sheffield. His career has been a fantastic one, and if he is denied the Hall of Fame, it will likely be due to the perceived taint around his numbers. But Sheffield has also been part of the hot stove for as long as he's been a household name. Let's take a look at the blockbusters involving Sheff – a combined five trades totaling 25 players.

  • On March 29, 1992, a disgruntled Sheffield was traded by the Milwaukee Brewers with minor leaguer Geoff Kellogg (not MLB umpire Jeff Kellogg) to San Diego in exchange for Ricky Bones, Matt Mieske and Jose Valentin. While none of the three managed a career close to that of Sheffield, all three went on to be valuable. Bones became a mainstay in the Milwaukee rotation over the next four years, pitching to a 4.40 ERA. Mieske delivered 44 home runs over the next five seasons in Milwaukee as a power bat off the bench. And Valentin spent eight seasons in Milwaukee as an extremely underrated player due to his batting average. Valentin was a tremendous glove at shortstop, and delivered a respectable OPS+ of 89 over those eight seasons, posting double figures in home runs six times.
  • Sheffield, however, wore out his welcome in San Diego, despite winning the batting title in 1992 and posting a season line of .330/.385/.580. No, really. So on June 26, 1993, the Padres sent him to Florida along with Rich Rodriguez for Andres Berumen, Trevor Hoffman and Jose Martinez. Berumen and Martinez made no impact, while Hoffman, of course, became the all-time saves leader. Still, it is hard to say that San Diego got the equal of Sheffield's remaining career – not that Florida did, either.
  • The Marlins did get a 156 OPS+ over six seasons. But when the post-1997 firesale commenced, the Marlins traded Sheffield on May 14, 1998 with Manuel Barrios, Bobby Bonilla, Jim Eisenreich and Charles Johnson to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Mike Piazza and Todd Zeile. Florida then sent Piazza onto the Mets for prospects. And while it cost Los Angeles the best-hitting catcher in baseball history, Sheffield performed extremely well for them: a 160 OPS+ over four seasons, actually better than his performance for Florida.
  • Still, the Dodgers tired of Sheffield as well, and dealt the 33-year-old to Atlanta on January 15, 2002 in exchange for Andrew Brown, Brian Jordan and Odalis Perez. Brown, a top pitching prospect, never amounted to much, though Jordan gave the Dodgers a 116 OPS+ over two seasons, and Perez pitched to an ERA+ of 127 and made the All Star game in the first of five largely successful seasons with Los Angeles. Sheffield? All he did was post a 151 OPS+ in his two years with Atlanta, then signed with the New York Yankees before the 2004 season.
  • The haul New York got from the Tigers for Sheffield on November 10, 2006 shows that Sheffield was still a valuable bat late in his career. Though Sheffield was entering his age-38 season, Detroit traded Kevin Whelan, Anthony Claggett and Humberto Sanchez for Sheffield. Sanchez in particular was a highly-touted prospect, though injuries wrecked his career. But for the first time, a team dealing for Sheffield got less-than-superstar production. In two seasons with Detroit, Sheffield had an OPS+ of just 105. The Tigers released him, and even after an OPS+ of 118 with the Mets in 2009, no one wanted Sheffield in 2010.

Though he was a far better player, Sheffield's tale reminds one of Dave Kingman – a prodigious home run hitter who couldn't find a job after hitting 35 home runs in his final season. Kingman was also traded three times and sold once in his career. Overall, Sheffield's career, on some level, has to be considered a disappointment- an astounding thing to say about a player with so much production.

Possible Areas Of Concern: Nationals, Cubs, D’Backs

It's still early – probably too early to draw definite conclusions about teams' strengths and weaknesses – but let's take a look at some clubs that could look to improve in certain areas. This is purely speculative, and remember – these weaknesses could become strengths in a matter of weeks.

The Latest On The Unsigned Position Players

After recapping the most recent news on some remaining free agent starting pitchers yesterday, let's focus on the bats today. Here are the latest updates on a few of the notable unsigned position players:

  • Jermaine Dye: Dye had the Mariners on his wish list, but Seattle didn't have much interest in the 36-year-old. Another team out west, the Giants, also had no interest in signing Dye. Washington was in the mix for the right-handed slugger at one point, though they've since backed off. Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe thinks Dye will sign somewhere soon, and an American League club where Dye could DH would make sense. Like Jarrod Washburn though, he'll likely need to reduce his asking price.
  • Gary Sheffield: Cafardo also believes Sheffield should sign soon, and tweeted that the veteran had "something on the table" a couple weeks ago. The Nationals also had discussions with Sheff, but the club seems happy with their current selection of outfielders for now. Even though he's 41, Sheffield could have value to a National League team as a pinch-hitter and part-time player, like he did for the Mets last year (.276/.372/.451 in 312 PAs).
  • Carlos Delgado: Delgado might end up being the offensive equivalent of Pedro Martinez: a hired gun that could contribute to a contending team in the second half of the season. The Mets were considered a possibility prior to their promotion of Ike Davis. Before Delgado catches on with any club, the 37-year-old will have to show that he's fully healthy following his second hip surgery in February.
  • Joe Crede: Considering Crede is a Scott Boras client, it's somewhat surprising that we've heard next to nothing regarding his status. Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports reported in early March that Crede was hitting and throwing while he waited for an offer, but there has been very little news since then. Crede has homered 32 times over the past two seasons and plays an above-average third base, so it may be health questions that are keeping him on the free agent market. As MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith suggested earlier this month, a healthy Crede "could become an attractive mid-season option for risk-taking GMs."
  • Elijah Dukes: Shortly after Dukes' surprising release by the Nationals, FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal tweeted that a few teams were interested in the 25-year-old. Since then though, we haven't heard anything concrete. Perhaps clubs are still hesitant to invest in Dukes, given his off-field history.
  • Rocco Baldelli: There was some speculation earlier in April that Baldelli could be an option for the Rays if they gave up on Pat Burrell, since Baldelli has been working out at Tropicana Field and wants to play. Burrell has played better since that point, hitting .275/.318/.500 in his last 11 games, silencing those rumors somewhat. For the time being, Baldelli will continue to serve as a special assistant for the Rays.

Check out our full list of available hitters here.

Rosenthal’s Full Count Video: Orioles, Griffey, Braves's Ken Rosenthal has a new Full Count video up, so let's see what he has for us…

  • The Orioles will almost certainly be the first team to fire their manager this season, and both Bob Melvin and Bobby Valentine came up in past internal discussions. Bigger jobs are in store for Valentine, but Buck Showalter might also be a candidate. Rosenthal reminds us that the team doesn't have anyone in-house with prior big league managing experience. 
  • The Mariners expect Cliff Lee back on Friday and Erik Bedard back in four weeks, but the focus will remain on the offense and Ken Griffey Jr.'s .238/.289/.262 performance. Rosenthal says not to expect anything to happen with him anytime soon; Seattle has five Griffey-centric promotions scheduled for the first half.
  • The Braves are a logical landing spot for Adrian Gonzalez, but they're also very high on first base prospect Freddie Freeman. The last time they traded for a first baseman with a year-plus left on his contract, they basically rebuilt the Texas Rangers.
  • The Nationals made a run at Jermaine Dye and had more than one conversation with Gary Sheffield's agent, but GM Mike Rizzo said those talks were just to gauge interest. For now, they're happy with the a platoon of Willie Harris and Justin Maxwell because of their defensive abilities, and Rizzo says that will remain a point of emphasis as the team moves forward. 
  • Rosenthal expects the Nats to get better as the season progresses. They'll be adding Stephen Strasburg, Drew Storen, Chien-Ming Wang, Ross Detwiler, and Jordan Zimmermann to their pitching staff at various points this year.

Cafardo’s Latest: Downs, Cruz, Dye, Sheffield

In his newest piece for the Boston Globe, Nick Cafardo discusses Manny Ramirez's Hall of Fame chances, concluding that the slugger's positive test for a banned substance last season may keep him out of Cooperstown. Here are a few other topics that Cafardo's column explores:

  • The Phillies would love to add a left-hander to their bullpen, particularly while J.C. Romero remains on the shelf. They're looking at Scott Downs, but given the Blue Jays' solid start, the team may hang on to him for the time being. When the Jays are ready to sell, Downs should provide a decent return.
  • Juan Cruz is another reliever on the trade market, albeit a less impressive one. He'll earn $3.75MM this year for the Royals, who may have to eat most of that salary to pull off a deal.
  • Jermaine Dye and Gary Sheffield should sign somewhere soon. When asked his thoughts on Orlando Hudson's insinuation that racism factored into Dye's and Sheffield's unemployment, Sheffield said he appreciated Hudson's concern, but "I'm not going to comment."
  • Cafardo names Jerry Manuel and Dave Trembley as two managers who could be on the hot seat and speculates about who would be next in line to replace the skippers. Cafardo points out that there are plenty of ex-managers available who have history with Orioles president Andy MacPhail, while for the Mets, Bob Melvin might be "the logical successor."