The Hot Stove League is all about stats, and cold, hard cash. So says Buster Olney today in his column over at ESPN. Olney delineates several situations, like the A Rod-Nomie show up in Boston. He also touches on the latest turn in the Gary Sheffield soap opera and hits the nail on the head whe he notes that if the deal falls apart, "it might be the luckiest break for the team since Albert Belle reneged on his verbal agreement in the winter of 1998." But if it's drama that George wants, it is drama he will get:
Sheffield created consternation within the Yankees' organization when he detailed his verbal agreement with George Steinbrenner to a newspaper -- more evidence that Sheffield, typically outspoken in his career, could make regular and unwanted appearances in the headlines of the New York area papers. Or maybe Steinbrenner has grown weary of the genteel Yankees, and wants more Billy-Reggie type Bronx Zoo stuff. If so, he should rush to finish the Sheffield deal now.
Or maybe the Yankees will invest that $39 million earmarked for Sheffield, tack on another year to the deal and lock up Vladimir Guerrero, who is seven years younger.
But perhaps Sheffield isn't really holding out for more money. According to Lee Sinins:
There is also a lot of speculation that this is a sham and the parties are just trying to delay an announcement as long as possible, in order to make it look like Sheffield wasn't signed before Sunday's deadline for the Braves to receive draft pick compensation. Meanwhile, the Braves are planning on filing a grievance with MLB over the Yankees's actions.
Olney also goes on to mention that a Yankee official believes that the chances of re-signing Andy Pettitte "are slightly less than 50-50."