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.