Sunday, October 25, 2009

How Will Ben Sheets Fare on the Free Agent Market?

After John Lackey, there is no other top flight starter available on the free agent market. Randy Wolf is good, but he is not an ace. Joel Pineiro had a solid 2009, but no one knows if he can repeat that. No one knows exactly how Aroldis Chapman will fare in the majors. Erik Bedard and Justin Duchscherer are very good pitchers when healthy, but the problem has been keeping them healthy.

One very intriguing name on the free agent market is winter is Ben Sheets. Assuming Sheets is healthy, he could be a real difference maker for a contending team. Where does Ben Sheets fit on the free agent market?
"Assuming Sheets, a four-time National League All-Star, is healthy, he could be highly-coveted player on what appears to be a thin free-agent pitching market. Sheets nearly signed with the Rangers last winter before concerns about his elbow scuttled the deal, and is now open to offers from all 30 teams including the Brewers, despite his somewhat complicated exit from Milwaukee.

Sheets, who debuted with the Brewers in 2001 and by 2008 was the player with the longest tenure with the club, worked much of the second half of the 2008 season with elbow pain and only revealed the torn flexor tendon in October, when he was left off Milwaukee's postseason roster.

At the time, the medical prognosis was that with rest and exercise and rehab Sheets would recover. The team was so comfortable with that diagnosis that it extended a Dec. 2 offer of arbitration to Sheets, who was free agent-eligible for the first time in his career.

Had Sheets accepted that offer, he would have been considered a signed player for 2009 at a salary to be determined, almost certainly higher than the $11 million he earned in 2008 when he finished 13-9 with a 3.09 ERA in 31 starts and started the All-Star Game for the National League."
I have no doubt that Sheets will be an attractive commodity on the free agent market. Will he get a one year deal loaded with incentives? And if he can prove he's healthy, then is it out of the realm of possibility to think that Sheets could get a multi year contract?


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1 comment:

P. W. Hjort said...

I think the Takashi Saito contract is a good model. Base salary plus incentives with a club option at the total 2010 salary for 2011. Maybe vesting. Not the same numbers, but that sort of framework.