phpk5FZUjGary Sheffield, who was released earlier today by the Detroit Tigers, told Jon Paul Morosi of the Detroit Free Press (via MLB Trade Rumors), that his first choice would be to join the Tampa Bay Rays.

Once he clears waivers, Sheffield will be able to sign with another team. He said he’d give preference to the Tampa Bay Rays, who play close to his home.

If the Rays had not been able to sign Pat Burrell, this off-season, picking up Sheffield might be a no-brainer. As it stands now, the Rays just don’t have any room for Sheffield unless the team were suddenly find a way to move Gabe Gross, release Gabe Kapler and deem Matt Joyce not read to play at all in 2009. That, and take a significant step backwards defensively, which goes against just about everything the Rays have tried to accomplish in the last few years.

Tigers Release Gary Sheffield [MLB Trade Rumors]
Tigers release DH Gary Sheffield [Detroit Free Press]
Tigers release Gary Sheffield [Detroit News]

 
 

18 Comments

  1. Scott Schiele says:

    Good lord. Is that Gary Sheffield or Ricardo Tubbs?

  2. axispi says:

    I think we should be not NO but HELL NO, sorry Gary but we can’t afford to lose chemistry now.

  3. Joe D. says:

    I listen to XM on the way into work, and one of the host’s is baseball writer Seth Everett. He drew a pretty good comparison of Sheff (this year) to Barry Bonds(last year) minus a trial, and you get a Carnival instead of a 3 Ring Circus, and about the only plus is that he was a part of spring training.

    The point here being you get a club house distraction, a roider, an aging outfielder that won’t be able to play the outfield, and is primarily a DH, and if he doesn’t get the AB’s he expects then he’s going to whine until he plays more, gets traded or gets released.

    • Jim says:

      While there is no arguing that they would both bring along distractions, I think there is a big difference in Bonds and Sheffield’s ability, well, at least in their ability to hit. Sheff has not put up good numbers for the past couple years (batted around .220 last year), but the last year Bonds played, he still had good numbers and a high OBP, even if his HR numbers were down. He hasn’t played in a while, so who knows how he would do, but I think that Bonds could still step in and hit well, while Sheff would not even necessarily be able to contribute as a DH (that is if he would accept that role).

    • Joe D. says:

      Also in the conversation on XM, the 2 most likely teams that they could come up with for Sheff to go to were the Blue Jays, and Rangers…

      Blue Jays seem most likely to me… but I could also see Sheff getting released ala Frank Thomas did last year with them…

  4. Dirtbag Fan says:

    Prof:

    Off subject here, but are there no games scheduled at Disney this year? I don’t see anything in the schedule that shows it, but I assumed that given the past success of the venture that it would continue.

    If they aren’t- is it because they no longer feel that they need the added exposure or attempt to expand their Florida fanbase?

    • the Rays never made an official announcement but they madesome subtle hints that they weren’t very happy with the attendance and the general lack of interest from people in Orlando area. I can’t remember how many games sold out but the games that did sell out would have only been day of game I think.

      But the biggest reason is that now tha the Rays are good, the team wouldvacrually lose revenue by going to play in a smaller stadium. In the past it was no big deal because attendance was about same at either place.

  5. Largebill says:

    Beyond the lack of obvious need for a DH/aging OF, there is the whole team mentality thing. In the D-Rays first decade they served as a last stop for aging players with a connection to the Tampa area (Canseco, Boggs, etc.). They were a bad team and used aging stars with local connections to try to boost attendance. That doesn’t work. Winning leads to improved attendance. Signing Sheffield would be like taking a step back towards the old Devil Rays. Better off sticking with young talented players instead of old recognizable names. Young Rays win old Devil G-Rays lose.

  6. bobrittner says:

    I am definitely not suggesting the Rays should even consider this, but if they think that Sheffield is still a menacing bat and can survive a full season as DH, they could try to trade Burrell and have Sheffield replace him. The benefit would obviously be the huge savings (near $7 million this year and off the hook for $9 million next) which would allow more budget flexibility if needed this season and next.

    Of course those huge “ifs” are serious impediments to even considering that approach. Still, as terrible as his numbers were last year, he hit 14 of his 19 home runs in the second half when he had a BABIP of .223, still walked a good % of the time and did not see a marked increase in K rates.

    • I agree. That’s why I think he would already be in uniform if the Rays had not been able to sign Burrell.

      As for trading Burrell…I think baseball used to have a rule about not being able to trade a player in the first year of a free agency deal. But I haven’t heard about it in a long time so maybe that is no longer included in the CBA?

      • bobrittner says:

        I am not sure. I see on Cots that he gets $.2 million bonus if he is traded, but it does not say anything about restrictions. So there is apparently no “no-trade” clause but it may be that it can only happen in the second year.

        But just imagine-and it is fantasy trip I know-if Sheffield were the force he has been until the past 3 years, or even close to it and the Rays could deal Burrell and one or more of our surplus pitchers. There could be quite a good return in addition to the other benefits.

        Unfortunately, I don’t think it even possible that Sheffield has much left let alone probable. I think you are exactly right about the likelihood of signing him had Burrell not been on board already though. A minimum salary gamble for one year would certainly make sense if no significant contributor was being jettisoned to get him.

  7. Don says:

    I think we ought to sign both Sheffield & Bonds, and they can show our young players like B.J. Upton how to play and act !
    They probally could tear down in a month what it took Maddon and others 3 years to build!

    • bobrittner says:

      I am not in favor of signing either, although I think Bonds would have helped last year. But I would not worry about their supposed toxic influence either on team morale or on individual players.

      Bonds did not seem to hamper the Pirates who won 3 consecutive division championships with him, nor the Giants who won 4 division championships and a pennant with Bonds. From 1997-2004 his SF team averaged over 92 wins per year, and apparently young players like Aurilia, Mueller and Bernard remained fine citizens and team players while sitting beside Bonds on the Giant bench.

      Similarly, Sheffield was on the Marlins when they won their first World Series and Charles Johnson, Luis Castilla and Edgar Renteria survived his supposedly negative influence with no apparent harm. He also contributed to Braves teams that won 101 games and the division in consecutive years with players like Furcal no worse for his presence.

      I also think singling out Upton for an example of someone who might be corrupted implies a real misreading of Upton and his vulnerability and buys into the silly publicity about his supposed lack of dedication. If anything, Upton should be highlighted for his remarkable toughness and competitive fire as well as his surprising maturity given his youth.

  8. Am I the only one that thinks the pic that goes with this story looks like a deleted scene from “Boyz in the Hood”?

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