Friday, February 6, 2009

Time to Get Your Elbow Fixed, Ben Sheets

Back in August, I foolishly predicted that Ben Sheets would receive a massive 5 year/$85 million dollar contract.

Wow...I was wrong. Dead wrong.

But in my defense, a lot changed from August until now.

Until early September, Sheets was having a phenomenal season that was capped off by a starting nod in the 2008 All Star Game. I figured that at 30 years old, Sheets had finally turned a corner in his career and would be in line for a huge contract at the end of the season. Remember folks, in August it looked as though Sheets was going to be the second best starting pitcher on the free agent market this season.

Unfortunately for Sheets, the injury prone pitcher was hit by the injury bug once again and missed several starts in September with a mysterious arm ailment. However, all indications were that Sheets thought he was healthy and still wanted a multi-year contract on the free agent market.

And from there, it only got worse for Sheets. Suitors began to shy away from Sheets because of his injury history and concerning medical reports. Most teams were unwilling to take a chance on Sheets because his injury risk was too high and teams feared he would miss significant amounts of time.

Fast forward to Tuesday when reports surfaced that Sheets would need to undergo elbow surgery and would miss most of the 2009 season. Fears about Sheets medical history turned out to be true and as a result, Sheets probably won't sign with a team until July or the earliest. It makes sense for Sheets to take care of his arm now, especially since the big time offers are not rolling in.

Sheets' injury woes are an absolute travesty to teams like the Mets and Rangers, both of whom would have welcomed a healthy Sheets into their rotation with open arms.

What a terrible twist of fate for Sheets. Here was a guy who was finally staying healthy and putting himself in line for a huge payday when his arm troubles resurfaced. Hopefully Sheets will be able to come back strong at some point in 2009 and put himself in line for a nice deal for 2010. If Sheets can get healthy by July or August, I can definitely see teams clamoring to take a chance on Sheets down the stretch. It could be an interesting side plot to the 2009 season, but at this point, all of us will have to sit back and wait.

Get well soon, Ben!


tHeMARksMiTh said...

The only thing about those reports is that I heard teams were scared by his shoulder, not his elbow necessarily. Which makes me wonder: how much is actually wrong with him and did the shoulder problem lead to the elbow problem?

Jorge Says No! said...

theMARksMith: Sheets's arm must be a mess. The guy has dealt with so many arm issues over the years and this one just underscores how poor his arm is.

Hopefully Sheets will be able to come back from this, but I'm not sure we'll ever see the dominant Sheets again.

thanks for the comment.

tHeMARksMiTh said...

Jayson Stark's Grumblings makes an interesting point -- if the Brewers offered him arbitration, they must have felt he was okay. They knew the most about him and had all his records, and they still offered him arbitration. Maybe it wasn't really the medical records people were afraid of.

Jorge Says No! said...

theMARksMith: Interesting point...but if it wasn't the medical records that teams were shying away from, then why did so many teams back away from Sheets?

I bet the Brewers were holding out hope he would sign elsewhere so they could get the first round pick.

thanks for the great comments, as always.