Tigers Release Gary Sheffield

070603_sheffield_vmed_10awidecIn a Shocking turn of events the Detroit Tigers have released Gary Sheffield. The tigers will owe him his guaranteed $14mill for 2009. He was also just one HR short of 500.

WHAT???!!! are you kidding me. I expected to see a ha ha or in other news Jim Leyland has started growing pot in the clubhouse. I never saw this coming and neither did he or any of his teammates. Ok ,he has been battling some injury issues sense that freak collision  with second baseman Placido Polanco in shallow right field during a July 2007 game against the Royals. But hes healthy now and he’s Gary FRIGGEN Sheffield.

Assuming that he will clear the three day waiver period without being claimed by another team. (why would they pay all that money when Detroit will have to) He will become a free agent and can sign for the league minimum of $390,000.

The Tigers cite their reasoning for the move is to give more at bats for Marcus Thames and  to rotate players around the DH spot and use it to keep some of their other sluggers in the lineup without them having to play the field every day. With Shef in the line-up he locked up the DH spot because Detroit had no plans to use him in the field. Now don’t get me wrong Thames can certainly hit the long ball, but that batting average of his has declined every season, and his .208 performance in the second half of 2008 was just plain awful.

I say that a healthy Shef can still hit 35+ HR and hit at least .270. Discounting 2008 which he was mostly injured as recently as 2007 he had 22 stolen bases and  hit 25 Dingers. At 40 he is still in great shape and has always had a good work ethic. He has even improved the running his mouth excessively over the last couple of years. Shef says he can still play the field and I believe him. Shef has never made a claim about his ability that he hasn’t lived up to.

Now we get to the discussion of who will pick him up? He will be a great DH for someone and can play in RF, though probably not on an everyday basis. There is also the hitting career number 500 HR to  bring in fans factor.  At the league minimum he would be a steal. I could almost see him going to a division rival to try and stick it to the tigers. How about the Twins wouldn’t he be a fantastic upgrade over Jason Kubel who cant hit lefties? (.232 in 2008) or perhaps Kansas City, hes gotta be better than Billy Butler as a DH. Perhaps the Indians could use him being that Travis Hafner is just coming back from surgery. (although it looks as if he will be fine.)

My Point is that hes a good fit on a lot of teams as a DH/part time outfielder. My advice to Gary at this point is: Gary don’t get greedy take the league minimum there will be plenty of teams willing to pay it. If you still have in the tank what you say you do ,prove it!

UPDATE: It seems the Phillys have already contacted Sheffields agent  details here

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