2010 Free agent profile: Ben Sheets

And now for a primer on the other free agent starter out there, Ben Sheets. When he is right, Sheets is a top-of-the-rotation type (at least in the NL). He boasts a solid strikeout rate and very good control of his 93 mph fastball, hard 80 mph curve and solid changeup. He lost his 2009 season due to having surgery on February 12 to repair his right elbow flexor tendon. According to Jayson Stark, Jason Jennings underwent the same surgery and returned one and a half years later. For what it’s worth, Jennings has his velocity back, but has only recently begun to look like the pitcher he was back in 2006.

Sheets is not quite the strikeout threat he once was, but he managed a solid 7.17 K/9 in 198.1 IP in 2008 and his velocity was stable. Ignoring any decrease in talent from his injury-cancelled year, Sheets would project for 179.1 IP, a 12-8 record and a 3.69 ERA and 1.20 WHIP. Now adjust that playing time and performance down 25-50% for 2010, if Jennings’ case is any indication. I think you have to approach Sheets from the standpoint of anything you get in 2010 is a bonus; you don’t sign him expecting him to hold down any rotation spot, but with an eye to the future.

Sheets is from Louisiana, and has been rehabbing at TMI Sports Medicine in Arlington, TX, which is owned by the Texas Rangers, so they may have the inside track on signing him. But the Red Sox have their top-notch medical team to offer, which could help get his career back on track. I’d be willing to go a speculative 2 years with him at maybe $8M plus incentives and maybe an option. He should be able to contribute significant innings by 2011. Think he’ll get a better offer anywhere else?


One Response to 2010 Free agent profile: Ben Sheets

  1. Jeff Carini says:

    I like the idea of Sheets or Harden in the Red Sox rotation given they can probably be has for short years and dollars. I think it may make some sense to try and sign John Lackey to a long term deal. He’s looking for AJ Burnett monwey and I think he will be worth it. The guy is a horse.

    If they want to go after a player such as Adrian Gonzalez, they will have to part with Clay Buccholtz and Lackey would give them a top of the rotation starter that can help in 2010 and beyond especially if Beckett were to leave as a free agent in 2011.

    They may want to look into signing a guy like Brett Tomko as well who can pitch in long relief and give them some spot starts as well as Wakefield injury insurance.

    2010 Rotation


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