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Sheff of the Future?
2006-06-09 07:34
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to bronxbanterblog.com.

It dawned on me last night that Gary Sheffield may never play another game for the Yankees. Now, I hope this isn't the case, I hope he can come back by the end of the season, but who knows? Will the Yanks try and sign him again this fall? It's certainly not a lock. Man, it would be a shame if this is how Sheffield's Yankee career ends. He's had two memorable seasons in the Bronx, adding to his Hall of Fame resume. I'm not ready to see Sheff and his inimitable bat wiggle go just yet, are you?

Comments (65)
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2006-06-09 07:44:09
1.   bp1
Wow, Alex. That never even occurred to me. Sobering, really.

I don't know if we "need" Sheff's bat in the lineup, but it certainly added significantly to the fear factor that the opposing pitcher would have to face.

I just don't know what to think. Melky, for all his likeability, is not Sheff. He's not going to put the fear of God into any pitcher, at least anytime soon, but he appears to be morphing into a fine defensive outfielder (even if you ignore The Catch).

I would much rather see Sheff come back in the DH role and put Bernie out to stud in Monument Park, but then what do you do with Giambi?

Methinks I'll let bigger minds solve this riddle. Too much for me to contend with.

BP

2006-06-09 07:53:39
2.   dianagramr
Sheff is/was a "hired gun". He is not a "true" Yankee (however you want to define "true").

He has always been surly, egotistical and money-hungry, and has been a disruptive clubhouse presence more often than not.

All that being said, his bat IS wondrous (though he gets major demerits for falling into Bonds' sphere of influence)

2006-06-09 07:56:13
3.   markp
I like Carbrera, but he strikes me (so far at least) as a 4-5 games out of 7 guy who plays the OF while guys like Sheff DH. If Melky develops a lot more power (at 21 he has lots of time for that)then that would change, but a corner OF on a contender should have an OPS over 850.
2006-06-09 08:02:10
4.   BobbyBaseBall
While I will miss the fouls rocketing into the third base stands, and the (in)famous bat wiggle, I think it might be time to cut our ties with Sheff. IIRC, before the wrist injury he wasn't really "that" productive (yes, it was still early, but with the new testing and all...)

That being said, I think it will come down to what the market dictates. Obviously, I don't think the Yankees should pick up his option. If some team is willing to throw 8-10 mil a year on a 38(?) year old DH coming off a wrist injury, fine. But for 3-5 mil, I wouldn't mind having him in a platoon DH/Rueben Sierra role for the next 2-3 years.

2006-06-09 08:23:36
5.   Dimelo
Alex, I'm with you man. All the crap I read about him before he came to the Yanks was bull. His teammates like him and that's all that counts for me, so what the press hates him. I like that he was mean and a bad-ass mother f'er.

The buisness aspect of baseball always gets people confused. How a player performs on the field and the fact that he wants to get paid and make money are mutually exclusive, at least to me. I don't care about him being money hungry, wanting to get his props or the fact that he hates anyone with a mic. I care about what's done between the lines - no, no...not the the Doc Gooden, Strawbery type of lines. :-)

One place I'd hate to see Sheff go to is Boston. His numbers at Fenway are insane and he can pepper that wall all day long. I hope Sheff stays, I like him as a Yankee and thought he represented himself very, very well.

For some very weird reason, while I'm typing this email, I keep thinking of that old New Edition (remember them?) song, "Is this the end".

Sheff, I gotta know.
Is this the end?
I wanna know, I wanna know, I wanna know.
Is this the end?
I gotta know, I gotta know, I gotta know.
Is this the end?

2006-06-09 08:40:51
6.   Peter
I'm not really sure how the business side of baseball works, but isn't there any way the Yanks can give him a one year, incentives-laden contract for 2007?

I don't buy the whole "true Yankee" meme. After giving us the seasons he did, he'll always be a Yankee in my eyes.

2006-06-09 08:54:37
7.   joejoejoe
The Yanks have a lot of '07 club options:
Mussina - $17M
Sheffield - $13M
Posada - $12M (vests with aprox. 25 more GP at C)
Rivera - $10.5M

2007 Yankee Free Agents:
Bernie, Villone, Sturtze, Small, Cairo, Stinnett

Who'll be back?

2006-06-09 09:06:39
8.   murphy
3, while you might need an 850 OPS to be considered a true corner outfielder, could that not be made up for by the fact that Posada, AROd, and Jeter have OPS far above the positions' averages? (just guessing here, i am no good with numbers)
2006-06-09 09:08:58
9.   Sliced Bread
Who says Sheff can't pitch out of the bullpen as he recovers? Can't be worse than Erickson and others.
2006-06-09 09:14:47
10.   Cliff Corcoran
I'd say none of those free agents will return and Posada (because it will vest) and Rivera will be the only ones whos options are picked up. Moose will get a new deal at a lower price. Sheff, depends on what else is out there in terms of big bats for OF corners/1B/DH, I haven't looked at the upcoming FA class yet.
2006-06-09 09:20:21
11.   pistolpete
7 Mussina - yes, depending on whether he can finish the year as strong as he's started. If he's learned to truly 'pitch' (alá Greg Maddux) in his old age, he could conceivably last another 3 years. If you can get away with 2 more, though, I would do that in a heartbeat.

Sheff - if he doesn't come back at all, no. Use the money for pitching and let's get back to manufacturing runs the old fashioned way. If the rest of the lineup is doing its job, Giambi and A-Rod should be enough to win ballgames.

Posada - if he cares about the team, he'll take a pay cut and start giving way to a protégé - who that is I don't know yet, but he's going to start wearing down quicker than someone like Bernie, who doesn't have to squat for 9 innings 4-5 times a week.

Rivera - duh.

Bernie - gee I hope he proves he's not fading as fast as people say he is.
Villone - wait n' see
Sturtze - not if Dotel does well
Small - wait n' see
Cairo - I think so - always at least one spunky utility guy on the bench
Stinnett - eh. Johnson doesn't seem to need him anymore, so what's the point? Bring someone up.

2006-06-09 09:34:11
12.   yankaholic
7 Rivera n Posada are the sure fire ones..

I think Bern retires after the yr..

Sheff goes to Angels or Giants..

Villone, Cairo -- Maybe

Stinnett, Sturtze, Small -- see ya

Moose, if he takes a 50% pay cut..

Wright -- option picked up i guess or a 4 mill buyout ( i would keep him for 7 mill)

We need an NBA like Alan-Houston rule for Meat.. we can save some money on the lux tax atleast

2006-06-09 09:35:21
13.   Zack
Article in the Times today about how Schilling is "setting the pace" for the old timers doing well this year, putting him ahead of Moose. It amazes me that despite Moose leading or in the top 3 or so of almost all good pitching catagories, he is still brushed aside for Schilling simply because he has less wins. Stupid NY Times
2006-06-09 09:37:50
14.   weeping for brunnhilde
So I'm in Rome and as I mentioned before, basically the only thing about the States that I painfully miss is baseball. So last night I had a very vivid dream in which Joe sternly told Melky that it was time for him to be sent back to Columbus, no hard feelings, kid. I started crying and cursing the organization that would mistreat such a fine player brimming with so much potential. I even remember very crossly saying something to Joe like, "You probably would have sent Mattingly back down after 1984, eh?"

That's kind of my answer to your question, Alex. I have nothing against Shef, but he doesn't inspire me so much; if he never plays another game in the Bronx, that would be too bad, I suppose, but I really wouldn't miss him.

2006-06-09 09:41:45
15.   yankaholic
Gary Sheff, for all his bat wagging.. has been MIA in the post season too..

infact he is a bigger culprit than ARod.. its lost on a lotta ppl..

Carlos Lee, can he be had??

2006-06-09 09:47:50
16.   standuptriple
I'd rather The Boss go after Lee as well. I can't see Sheff making major contributions at his age. Maybe an incentive-laden deal, but I suspect another party will commit to him for more and rely on him daily.
Just to add another name to the list, Wright. The Yanks can opt out of the last year of his deal due to his DL stint last season. Wish we had that clause in Meat's contract.
2006-06-09 09:47:51
17.   weeping for brunnhilde
8 Murphy, you read my mind. It makes me crazy all this stuff about this position must produce such and such power numbers, especially in an era wherein shortstops are suddenly sluggers.

Rod Carew played first base at the end of his career.

Len Dykstra was a left-fielder when Mookie was in center, was he not?

Lonnie Smith also comes to mind.

The point being, the point is to win games and if you win games, who cares where the power comes from or if there even is any power?

I recognize that I may be irredeemably oldschool, but there it is. I just get crazy when baseball is turned into so many formulas for success.

Melky contributes so much to this club already, and that's at a tender age. Don't worry about the power; it'll come or it won't.

Besides, power is a very unreliable way to win ballgames, especially against quality pitchers.

2006-06-09 09:52:09
18.   jdsarduy
Hey Alex I read your article on SI http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2006/writers/alex_belth/06/07/giambi.yankees/index.html

And it was another good read.
What I find interesting about Giambi is that I've never seen a hitter go from hitting the ball to all fields to being a strictly pull hitter as fast as he did.
He's 35 now I think he can hit till he's 40 in a DH role but I wonder how ling can his power last?

2006-06-09 09:54:57
19.   Jeteupthemiddle
11 There is no one to bring up.
2006-06-09 09:56:09
20.   JL25and3
5 It's not just some press vendetta against Sheffield. This is the guy who turned his back on his teammates and fans in Milwaukee, and just plain stopped playing to win. And it's the same one who came to NY and complained about his contract (that he negotiated), scuffled with a fan, and threatened to do Milwaukee all over again if he was traded. ("If I'm not happy, you don't want me on your team.") No question, he's a monster hitter, but he's mean-spirited and self-centered and just an all-around bad egg. I never wanted him here; I wish he'd never been on the team, no matter how well he hits; and I'll be thrilled to see him leave.
2006-06-09 10:09:36
21.   pistolpete
19 What, so there's no one playing catcher in our entire minor league system?

Gotta be someone who can put up some numbers down there...

2006-06-09 10:13:45
22.   bloodyank78
15 and 16, I love having Sheff in Pinstripes, but if he does not return I'm 100% in favor of getting El Caballo in NYC.
Lee hits for power, average, he has great plate discipline, and his range in the outfield is stellar. He is a free agent in '07 so I hope Old Georgie shows him the $.
2006-06-09 10:22:16
23.   Dimelo
20 I guess that's where we differ. There are worse people in the world who people "root", or vote for, for me to concern myself about Sheff and his 'self-centered' attitude. There a lot of awful people in this world, Sheff is hardly one of them and just cause he plays for the Yankees and our team doesn't mean we should lose perspective about the world. Plus the fight with the fan that he had; it was in the heat of the moment and the perceived swipe/punch that Sheff thought the guy took at him caused him to react. It hardly makes him a bad person.

I'm not here to defend the guy, but we shouldn't look at Sheff's bluntness and his ability to say what's on his mind as a reason to hate him just cause he rubs you the wrong way. There are a lot of athletes and regular old folks like ourselves that have some pretty creepy demons in our closet. I always think of the portrayal the media had of Robert Parrish, but it was this same Robert Parrish who during the 1986 playoffs kicked his pregnant wife down a flight of stairs. A lot of times perception and reality get crossed. OJ was perceived to be a good guy, had a perfect life, was the guy running around in those Avis commercials, the guy doing the sideline reporting for NBC's NFL telecasts, he was great in those Naked Gun movies, and we later find out he was quite the chef (no pun intended) with a ginsu knife.

Me thinks if that's all we have to pin on Sheff then he did alright for himself in his life.

2006-06-09 10:28:31
24.   yankaholic
20 Sheff has been relatively quiet since he came here..

infact when all the Sux's were chirping he was the guy who defended ARod n said he will do what it takes to defend Rod if they confront him in Fenway

he started a small issue on the extension but he reneged and had been ultra quiet even b4 he got hurt

he was even quoted as saying, if Yanks dont pick up.. someone else will pick me up..

i think Sheff has been less of a baggage than ppl think he is..

and what fan-scuffle?? u mean the one @ fenway when someone swiped at him??

and oh btw.. i want him gone coz of age n non-production in playoffs than his attitude..

2006-06-09 10:30:21
25.   claybeez
I've enjoyed having Sheff on this team. Sure, sometimes his comments are frustrating, as are his overly pull happy ways. Still, you can't ignore that he has been a key part of the success (and failure) of this ballclub. If this is how his Yankees tenure ends, it will be quite a disappointment. The story of the season is still being written though, and if hew were to comeback and make a differnece down the stretch all bets are off.
2006-06-09 10:33:26
26.   markp
in re corner OF hitting:
Can you win with a 750 OPS guy in a corner OF spot? Of course you can. But doesn't it make more sense to put a guy who is a very good hitter in a corner OF spot? The defensive spectrum from least important goes 1B-LF-RF then to the more valuable defensive positions. That's why there are so many good hitters among corner OF-it's an easy position to play. It's wasting resources to settle for a sub 800 OPS in a position where there are so many better hitters.

Melky may develop into a much better hitter, but he isn't likely to get anywhere near Sheffield's level of production in the nest 2 years. If we're not going to bring Sheff back, we'd better be looking at someone to replace his production (or at least come close.)

2006-06-09 10:34:13
27.   Rob Gee
In the "not a surprise" department:

Ex-Yankee Leyritz admits to using amphetamines

http://tinyurl.com/ljaeu

2006-06-09 10:35:15
28.   wsporter
19 JUTM, There is no one playing well enough at Trenton or Columbus that you'd want to bring up to push Stinnett. There is one guy, Pilettere who is hitting alright in Tampa. Not much power though .291 AVG, 353 OBP, 388 SLG. 103 ab's 10 k 11 bb.

We need some big time help.

2006-06-09 10:38:51
29.   BxSparksNYC
As for Sheff, I'm with Dimelo. The guy produces on the field and handles his business off of it the way he thinks is right. I'm surely not going to judge how he does things with the media and management. Outside of that moment in Boston, what else has he done fan-wise that we should be so upset over. On the field he gets it done.

BTW, Dotel I believe is another FA or player option, which in my opinion was a mistake on Cash part...should have been a team option..especially if he come back smoking...

2006-06-09 10:47:35
30.   Jeteupthemiddle
28 Sure, but that doesn't help us for next year, which is what 11 said.
2006-06-09 10:53:02
31.   Rob Gee
Anyone else notice that Steven White (24 yo righty) got bumped to AAA?

Last night he had a solid first start.

7.0 IP 3 H 1 R 0 ER 2 BB 2 SO

His peripherals were far from great in Trenton, but he go the job done:

4W 1L 2.11ERA 68.1IP 52H 16R 16ER 0 28BB 45SO

Meanwhile, TJ Beam (25 yo righty) has 6 SO and 1 BB (no R) in his first three innings of AAA work.

2006-06-09 10:56:19
32.   Sliced Bread
Unless Sheff did something to you personally, I don't get why every Yankee fan isn't counting the days until he returns.

Hasn't he been a good "citizen" on the Yankees?

He's overpaid? Talk to the boss, he negotiated the deal.

Look at it this way: would you rather see Sheff waggling his bat against a Yankee pitcher? I wouldn't, not even against Mo.

Despite his age, he's one of the most prolific RBI guys in the league -- and if his wrist heals 100% he should continue to be among the most dangerous hitters in the game.

Yes, he would best serve the team as a DH, as would Giambi, but those are two bats any team would be lucky to have, and are worth accomodating.

How do I think it will shake out? Depends on Sheff's recovery. If he returns in time to help the team down the stretch I think Steinbrenner will have him back, which will require overpaying him again.

If he doesn't recover before the end of the season I suspect Steinbrenner would hold it against him and the negotiation would send Sheff packing. Lord knows Gooden won't be in on the negotiations this time to smooth things over.

2006-06-09 11:14:47
33.   bp1
32 Good points, Sliced. This will be much more difficult to gauge if Sheff doesn't come back for a few games this Fall. It will be a gamble if he doesn't see some game action with his rehabbed wrist this year.

As far as the money issue - it ain't my money so I don't really care. I don't think it is as simple as "using Sheff's money to get more pitching", as others have suggested. If there was pitching to be had - we'd have it already. Sheff's contract didn't keep us from getting The Farns, Dotel, and the rest. The simple fact is - there just aren't many good arms available - so might as well load up on bats while we can.

At some point, the question will be - who is a more valuable DH? Sheff or Giambi? Sheff has been far more consistent, but Giambi's peaks are off-the-charts and his OBP is always great (as is Sheff's).

I want 'em both. Do we have to choose?

BP

2006-06-09 11:26:53
34.   Dan M
Jim Leyritz just admitted to amphetamine use, citing a teammate from the 1990 squad as his supplier. Clearly, it was Tim Leary - come on, a guy with that name HAS to have drugs. ;) Although there were a lot of shady guys on that team (see, e.g., Polonia, Luis).

As much as I love Melky!, he's only had 100 ABs, and his SLG is less than his OBP. That is not good, folks. He might just turn out to be a younger version of Bubba.

2006-06-09 11:39:39
35.   Simone
I'm not a Sheffield fan, it would be cool if the Yankees sign him as a DH for next season. However, I don't see how the Yankees can pick up his option when he so frequently injured and can barely field.
2006-06-09 11:46:49
36.   Sliced Bread
33 Thanks, BP. Good points by you, too.
2006-06-09 11:55:52
37.   JL25and3
My major concern isn't that Sheffield isn't a nice guy, or that he speaks his mind, or even that he scuffled with a fan. In the middle of a play. While he still had the ball in his hand.

My problem with Sheffield has only to do with his baseball behavior. He completely went in the tank when he was with Milwaukee, obviously and deliberately and unashamedly, and he admitted it. I've never forgiven him for that. If he'd ever apologized, or shown any regret at all about what he did, I'd probably let it go. But as far as he's concerned, it was everyone else's fault (as everything seems to be).

The fact that he hasn't further disgraced the game while a Yankee is irrelevant. That stain is still there. There are things more important than hitting, and even than winning. (And yes, I'd rather see him waggling the bat at Yankee pitchers. I'd rather see him anywhere else.)

2006-06-09 12:06:35
38.   Dimelo
37 I stole a Twinkie when I was 9 from the corner bodega. I never apologized and/or repented for my actions. Am I kleptomaniac? No. Did I disgrace my parents? Hardly. I managed to disgrace them much worse during my teen years, some things they found out about others that they didn't. Do they still love me? I hope, though I question that but I still manage to give my mom a heart pendant for mother's day and my father a tie for father's day. What can I say, who wouldn't love a son like me?

Moral of the story, we all do crappy stuff in our life....some things we don't regret, some things we do regret and there are some things we just wish never would have happened - like that big and tall and huge fat chick on my 21st b-day. I would file Sheff's time in Milwaukee as something he wish never would've happened or said outright. Don't you think you are taking it to heart a bit? Maybe you should have a 21st b-day like mine and you'd forgive Sheff.

2006-06-09 12:08:43
39.   yankaholic
37 i refuse to accept that as a scuffle..

the fan swiped and he didnt get involved in a ron Artest Confrontation..

its wrong to call that a scuffle

2006-06-09 12:14:24
40.   JL25and3
I take it to heart only in a baseball sense, and there I do take it seriously. (I don't forgive the Black Sox or Pete Rose, either.) I think if the bodega owner knew you stole the Twinkie, he'd insist that you either make amends or stay the hell out of his store. Sheffield's never done either.

As for wishing it had never happened, Sheffield's never indicated that he has any such feeling. In fact everything he's said and done since then has indicated that he doesn't give the slightest crap about it.

Well, I do. To me, not giving a fair effort to try to win is about the worst baseball sin there is. In strictly baseball terms, stealing a Twinkie or schtupping a fat girl aren't in the same league.

2006-06-09 12:24:34
41.   Cliff Corcoran
Rob 31, read the last paragraph of my last post.

As for Leyritz taking greenies. Talk about a dog bites man headline. I really do assume a good 90+% of major leaguers have used amphetamines at one time or another. Mike Schmidt said he tried 'em. I wouldn't be surprised if Jeter's used 'em. It's just not that big of a deal in that culture. It's good that they're testing for them, but an amphetamine scandal is not news. We've known they were a regular part of baseball since Ball Four was published in 35 years ago.

As for Leyrits's supplier, if Steve Sax wasn't beaning up, then no one was.

2006-06-09 12:27:37
42.   Dimelo
40 You said, "To me, not giving a fair effort to try to win is about the worst baseball sin there is.". Why does that only apply to baseball? How do you feel about these guys:

Randy Moss
Latrell Sprewell (14 million ain't enough to feed my family)
Manny - you can't possibly say he gives it his all running down the first base line
Bonds
Derrick Bell - operation shut-down

Shef, to me, is a saint when compared to some of those.

BTW, the fat girl...was the bodega store owner's daughter.

2006-06-09 12:32:27
43.   wsporter
31 Rob, Did you get a chance to check the boxes and logs from the minor league games last night? We didn't win them all but we got good pitching across the board. Hughes didn't win but it looks like he had his best outing to date at AA.

I'm geeked about this kid Beam. I think he could be ready for the Bronx before to long. The man brings some filthy stuff to the game and he has that look about him that some of those gun slinging relievers bring; he looks like he just KNOWS what's going to happen. I think you'll like him.

2006-06-09 12:35:16
44.   JL25and3
42 "If I missed a ball or something, so what? If the official scorer gave me an error that I didn't think was an error, I'd say, `OK, here's a real error,' and I'd throw the next ball into the stands on purpose. I did it all."

Manny doesn't always give 100% - which is bad - but this is a different thing altogether.

Randy Moss and Latrell Sprewell are basically irrelevant to me - baseball's really the only sport I follow. And as far as I can tell, Derrick Bell was just washed up at 30.

2006-06-09 12:46:55
45.   Nick from Washington Heights
Apparently, Dimelo, God decided to exact revenge 12 years later!
2006-06-09 12:48:15
46.   jonnystrongleg
Gary Sheffield was a 20 year old SS in Milwaukee. Anyone has the right to hold his behavior there against him. But his immaturity 15 years and several cities ago, has never affected my appreciation of his efforts in pinstripes.

The lineup has held together without him, but I've enjoyed his time with the team and hope it ends with him playing a significant role in the middle of a championship Yankee lineup.

2006-06-09 12:51:06
47.   bp1
44 The past is in the past. All I care about is what will happen the rest of this year, and whether Sheff should get his option picked up for next year. He has given no indication that he has dogged it in NY, so I see no reason why he would start now. All I care about is his play on the field, and the value he adds to the team.

I was all for picking up his option prior to the wrist injury, as he was still a killer at the plate and wasn't Bernie in the outfield. I'd like to see how he comes back after this surgery before I'd pick up the option for $13mil. His value is entirely in his bat, and if the wrist injury saps his power, then he's not worth that much money. To me, it's as simple as that.

I won't judge the man by what happened 15 or so years ago (whatever it was). His play in '03 with that bum left shoulder told me all I needed to know about the man's character on the field. He's a gamer to me, and I wanted him on the team. If he comes back healthy, I still want him on the team.

BP

2006-06-09 12:57:43
48.   Rob Gee
41 Sorry Cliffman, it's been one of those days and with quick skimming and I missed it. But the Cracker can't be seen as any more than a emergency replacement should one of the starter pitchers go down before the trading deadline. Still, I have to think Mendoza comes after Small and Er-ickson. Then maybe White?

And you're spot on about the green stuff - except that it was just as illegal (U.S. government-wise) as the other stuff. Any and all reports will get greater scruntiny now with the G-men involved. Jetes never struck me as the type though - the kids I've known to use we're always amped up Like Leyritz and Sax. Captain Calm doesn't fit the profile - late nights or not.

43 I did see the Hughes line. It's encouraging that he's starting to control the strike zone again (4 SO and 1 BB). Should be fun to see if he makes the club next year - esp. with the resigning of Moose and the already signed Unit - the geriatric ward will need that 6th starter. Nice to get a MLB look next year.

As for Beam, the local Comcast network showed a Trenton-Portland game maybe two weeks back. Hughes started and Beam came on in relief. I was most impressed by how big he is. It also looked like he's got alot of late movement on his fastball and a big looping off-speed pitch - looked like a slider. Actually reminded me a good bit of Farnswacker. If all stay healthy, that's quite a pen down the stretch - though I could imagine Beam getting traded - too many guys and not enough slots. I'm really curious (and hopeful) that Erickson gets cut with Chacon's return - too bad my rational mind says Smith to AAA.

2006-06-09 13:03:38
49.   Max
It may make business sense to cast off Sheff after this season...and none of us know if he'll fully recover after the wrist injury.

But I know I really enjoyed seeing him in our lineup as a Yankee...he was much more of a "true Yankee" to me among the free agent signings we've made over the years than just about anyone else, including Moose, A-Rod, Giambi, Clemens, or RJ. The guy cared about being a Yankee, wore his passion on his sleeve, cared about his teammates, and carried the team on his back in so many games in the 2004 season that even his teammates were in awe.

Yes, he laid an egg in the 2004 playoffs, but he wasn't doing that badly until Game 4...and guess what, Matsui, ARod and Jeter didn't exactly acquit themselves well either in that historic collapse.

All this noise about disgracing the game has been discussed before, and I can be as self-righteous as anyone regarding the sins of modern day athletes...but Sheff, for all his self-centeredness and irascibility, never struck me as false. What you saw was what you got. And I mostly enjoyed -- enjoyed tremendously -- the many things he did on the field as a Yankee. For a while in 2004, it seems like he singlehandely willed the team to victory in every late inning situation...I'm thinking of the time his home run against the Twins led to a deluge that knocked out Nathan in the ninth inning, but there were so many others...

Perhaps more steroid fallout and post career tell-all bios will expose Sheff further as a pill-popping, people-abusing Antichrist, but I can only go by what I saw on the field and in his interviews with the press.

He was a bit in love with himself as a badass, and his insecurity regarding his perceived value on a team of superstars was tough to see at times (though totally understandable), but he was never dull. And he frequently backed up the bluster and made people out there fear the Yankees everytime he came up to bat.

I'll personally be sad if the last we see of him is this quiet fade with a career-damaging injury...even if it's the best thing for the team long term.

2006-06-09 13:07:46
50.   Dan M
48 - I saw a Trenton-Binghamton game on TV 2 weeks back that also featured Beam relieving Hughes - but Beam allowed both baserunners to score. He should fit right in.
Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2006-06-09 13:17:23
51.   Dimelo
49 Max, that was a great write-up. I agree, I hope that wasn't the last time we all saw Sheff in Pinstripes. He was great in 2004, I remember the Nathan game quite well.

Thinking back to last year. I loved when Sheff hit that double off the wall last year against Schilling and then ARod followed with his bomb. Sheff was waiting for ARod at homeplate and they had that great high-five + chestbump scene. Good times....

2006-06-09 13:21:10
52.   Rob Gee
50 Yup, sorry, it was Binghamton. But at the time I wasn't too concerned with the results. He just didn't seem to have his control that night and it looked like he was getting squeezed. In Trenton he averaged 1 BB every 3.5 innings. That night he walked two guys in 1.1 innings. The stuff looked good though and they won the game. It wouldn't surprise me to see him in August, if he's not traded first.
2006-06-09 13:22:39
53.   ChrisS
Hopefully, Scott Erickson can be on the train out of town because at this point, it's not if he'll give up a run or two, but whether he'll get tagged for more than 5.

On topic, Sheff '05 is worth the $13 million option, Sheff with a surgically repaired wrist with no real other option in the outfield, isn't. Pick up his option, slot him as the DH, throw Giambi at first, Lee would be a good cheap signing, but he's going to command premium dough and then underperform (his career stats aren't that great).

2006-06-09 13:23:24
54.   JL25and3
Again: in my book, this doesn't get lumped in with "the sins of modern day athletes," or at least baseball players. Frankly, this is the only one I get self-righteous about, because it's just...different. I don't feel the same way about Sheffield's steroid use; at least that's an effort to improve his performances, which would help his team win.

Look, from an aesthetic standpoint, I love watching the guy hit. In 40+ years of watching baseball, I've never seen a guy hit the ball as hard as he does. But in those 40+ years I've found there are things more important than whether a guy is mashing the ball for the Yankees. Not many, but a few.

No, he's never seriously dogged it with the Yankees (though his outfield play can be pretty nonchalant). But he's also made it clear that he's perfectly willing to do so if he sees fit. As I quoted above: "If I'm not happy, you don't want me on your team." And this spring: "I'm the type of guy who loses interest real quick. When I give out what I'm giving out and I don't feel like I'm getting back, I just go the other way. But the motivation has always been there here. I've never had to go the other way." Not yet, anyway. But if need be, he will.

2006-06-09 13:27:16
55.   Dan M
Oh, trust me, I'd rather see him than Erickson.

Know what made me laugh last night? When Murcer excused Papelbon for walking Melky! because "sometimes closers just don't know how to pitch when the game's not on the line." I was really hoping someone could've followed up on that stupid comment after Papelbon blew away Giambi and A-Rod - despite the lack of close-game pressure.

2006-06-09 13:33:53
56.   jayd
The other thing I had read is that with the minor leagues closing down by laborday, there are no "rehab starts" available for either Matsui or Sheff if they come back when they are supposed to. So you have the decision to make of whether you will let them get back into playing shape during the month of september. If the race is close this may not be an option, hence the need to get a Yankee outfielder by 7/31...
2006-06-09 13:43:19
57.   Cliff Corcoran
56 Excellent point. Same thing hurt Giambi in September 2004. As a result he was left off the playoff roster and had a slow start to 2005.
2006-06-09 13:45:01
58.   C2Coke
How Sheff's injury recovers will probably play the biggest factor in the outcome next year. But hey! remember BoSox is paying Manny $10,000 for fielding, $10,000 for base running, and the rest of the millions for his hitting?

51 I remember that game, those were indeed good times.

55 Papelbon...the look he has on his face just gets on my nerves...no...no not just because he's been a excellent closer so far.

2006-06-09 13:49:53
59.   C2Coke
56 I don't know why I feel so confident Matsui can be back in August. I just hope I can be as confident that the race WOULDN'T be close in Sept. On the other hand, I would be surprised if there is no new OF in early July. (Seriously, how many of us here think Bernie/ Bubba can hold for more than a week or two?)
2006-06-09 13:52:16
60.   JL25and3
56 That's true about September rehabs. Trading for an outfielder looks necessary, but there are some problems.

First, I'm not sure who the Yankees have to offer in a trade. In this scenario, Melky's your second outfielder, so you obviously can't trade him. There aren't really many prospects at AAA or AA except Hughes, and they'd be nuts to trade him. (Trenton has to be one of the oldest AA teams I've ever seen.) If you want someone who's any good, a package of A-ball prospects is a tough sell.

Second, you'd have to decide that getting an outfielder was more important than getting a pitcher. That's not at all clear right now.

2006-06-09 14:37:33
61.   randym77
From what I've seen of Sheff, I like him. He's prone to shooting off his mouth and saying things that really make the tabloids' day, but that always seemed more naivity than malice. Sheff never has learned to deal with the press.

However...the kind of injury he has is the kind he may never really recover from. He'll be 38 next year. He was thought of as a durable player, but he's been on the shelf an awful lot the last two seasons, and I don't think that's going to get any better. It might be time for him to hang up his cleats.

And I do wonder about what he does to team chemistry. I've read several articles now that mention how much happier and more pleasant the clubhouse is, with Melky and Philly and Miggy, who are so happy just to play, instead of Sheff grumbling about his contract. It sure sounds like he was a downer in the clubhouse. Can all those reporters really be out to get him?

2006-06-09 15:07:17
62.   Stormer Sports
Great commentary!

As far as Sheffield is concerned, I'm not a huge fan of him pesonally, but that being said, you would be a fool not to want him hitting third in your lineup, any lineup, NL or AL. He's 38 but if he recovers, he's still the best number 3 guy in the league, Ortiz included.

61 Who knows about the press? As for the players, when was the last time you heard a player call out a teammate for being a whiny self-absorbed punk in the clubhouse? It just doesn't happen--Jeff Kent notwithstanding--, so we have no idea how any of the Yankees tryly feels about Sheffield, no idea, and to speculate is irresponsible. Remember how much those Indians and Dodgers claimed they just "loved" Milton Bradley?

Posada-Absolutely sign him to an extension if you can. There is nothing to evidence he is falling off that much, if at all! Sure we need a young catcher to back him up, and soon, but considering he has a higher average, more RBI, and more HR than any catcher but Piazza the last 5 years, I think I'd chill on the retirement talk for now, sheesh. Rivera washed up too?

Sign Moose to a 3 year deal, he's still a very good pitcher, and he could get 300 in pinstripes. The alternative?

Sign Rivera to a 345 year deal for God's sake. Pay him with you daughter for all I care. Give him what he wants! He shouldn't be making less than Billy Wagner for crying out loud.

2006-06-09 16:06:48
63.   singledd
7 My 2 cents...
Mussina - $17M
If he still has his stuff at the end of the year, he's worth 10 mil (at his age). I don't think he wants to leave the Yankees. Maybe an incentive laden contract.
Sheffield - $13M
Damon 13$M?, Mats 13$M? Compared to these, and many others, unless he's really diminished, 13$M is decent deal. (for 1 year). His bat speed is still there.
Posada - $12M (vests with aprox. 25 more GP at C).
Maybe a little high, as his production will probably go down... but he is one of the very 'truest' Yankees. He must retire as a Yankee.
Rivera - $10.5M
A BMW at the price of a Ford

2007 Yankee Free Agents:
Bernie... retire a Yankee... PLEASE
Villone... a keeper at a reasonable price
Sturtze... see ya
Small... it's been nice, enjoy your money.... see ya.
Cairo... maybe worth a mil, depending on the market and the farm, but probably not.
Stinnett... pay him to leave!

2006-06-09 16:36:26
64.   singledd
About Sheff....
If I interview for a job, I hope my last 2 years of production will carry more weight then what I did 15 years ago, or the hurt feelings I caused a fat chick on my 21st birthday, I would be pissed.

Lets be fair minded at look at Shefs history and production as a Yankee. And that looks pretty good to me. I think he has earned his stripes. If he recovers, he is good for another year or 2 as a DH/reserve OF'er.

Also, I'm not a doctor, but I think Mats injury is more difficult to recover from the Shef's. We may need to replace him (heaven forbid).

2006-06-09 16:41:23
65.   singledd
Hey Cliff.... he who is magic with numbers.
Could you do a 'runs produced' run for Shef vs. Melky? I love Melky. These kiddy Yanks are great to watch. But anyone who thinks Melky can replace Shef, is a fan who has other things to do in October, rather then watching the PS. How many runs/games do we gain/lose doing a Melky for Shef swap?

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