Anything Cooking with Sheff?

gary sheffield.jpgWe learned a couple things after the Phillies released Geoff Jenkins yesterday.

First, they are interested in Gary Sheffield.

Second, they are interested in Andruw Jones.

What are the chances the Phillies get either player? It’s less likely than likely, but that doesn’t mean it won’t happen. Phillies super scout Gordon Lakey has been following Jones recently, but the Rangers might not be willing to move him. Sheffield? It seemed last night like Sheffield would be moving to the American League, but ESPN’s Buster Olney wrote today that AL teams with room for Sheffield are in short supply. Tampa Bay has Pat Burrell. The Red Sox have David Ortiz. The Royals like what they have seen from Billy Butler. The Mariners have Ken Griffey Jr. The Indians have Travis Hafner. The White Sox have Jim Thome. The Angels have Gary Matthews Jr. The Yankees? Sheffield burned bridges there. That could leave the Orioles and the Twins, but it’s unclear if they would be interested.

So maybe Sheffield will have to consider National League teams after all.

The Phillies obviously would need to resolve something before they sign him, if it gets that far. Would Sheffield happily accept a reserve role? If they feel comfortable with Sheffield’s attitude, it basically is a low-risk, high-reward move because they only would have to pay him $400,000.

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The Phillies said yesterday there are four candidates for two bullpen jobs: J.A. Happ, Jack Taschner, Gary Majewski and Bobby Mosebach. But I’d bet hard on Happ and Taschner. Majewski signed a minor-league contract, so they don’t risk losing him by starting him in Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Mosebach, a Rule 5 Draft pick, hasn’t shown enough to earn a spot on the 25-man roster. That leaves Happ, who pitched well enough to earn a spot in the rotation, and Taschner, who the Phillies just acquired in a trade with the Giants.

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26 Comments

Am I the only one who fels the Phils are better with a player like Cairo then one like Sheff or Jones? I want a bench player to be able to fill in multiple posistions in late innings, start every now and then to give my regulars a day off, and be able to hit off the bench to keep a rally going, or gt one started in place of the Pitcher. At most, I’d keep one HR specialist on the bench-(Stairs). Bringing in either of these two, or the same kind of player, reduces our real bench to only 3-one of whom is the backup C.

What about Wily Mo Pena? He’s younger, can play the corners and he’s pretty low key and wouldn’t disrupt the chemistry as much.

Amaro said yesterday the Phillies have no interest in Wily Mo Pena.

I think the Shef could be interesting, “low-risk, high-reward” – exactly – but, when he’s 14 homers away from 21st place, and 22 away from 18th, he has to be looking for a starting job, right?

About Jones, why would the Rangers not want to move him?!?! Why would the Phillies want him?!?! Over the past two seasons, he has a .205 AVG (160-781), 104 R, 29 HR, 108 RBI, 5 SB, a .390 SLG, and a .223 OBP. The non-percentage stats would be good, had they been over a single season. But it took him two years to do that! And he only got 21% of his hits, 27% of AB, 20% of R, and 10% of both HR and RBI last season! He’s only getting older! There’s nothing to make anyone think he will do any better this season than he has ever played in his career, including his first and most recent seasons! In my opinion, any amount of money that anyone gives him to play baseball for their ballclub will be a waste of money.

It feels good to rant.

FIJ: I agree that in a perfect world you’d have an assortment of bench players like that ala Brunlett (and in a really perfect world his bat would have some pop).

Jones might be the better of two since he’s younger and hopefully could regain some of his previous chutzpah.

I have to agree with f-i-j about the need for a versatile bench player, especially considering that Utley and Feliz are coming off surgery. Sheff is nothing at this point but Stairs from the right side. I don’t think the Phillies can afford a roster spot for that.

The thing is, we have such a bench. We have Stairs as a HR threat, Coste as C with some Power, Brunlett and Cairo who can play anywhere and hit reasonably, and Dobbs, the ultimate PH. The assumption seems to be that if someone goes down long tearm (DL for example) we bring up either mayberry or Donalds to plug the hole. I say, do nothing and go with the current bench

Sheffield, Jones? Talk about the over the hill gang. If those are the choices I’d ask Mike Schmidt to come out of retirement instead. Hey, the Bull is at CBP every home game, can’t we sign him? Where’s Inky?

Miguel Cairo cannot “hit reasonably,” he’s terrible. In the last 7 years he’s had a wOBA over .300 once. I don’t think defense is really a concern for the Phillies bench right now. Bruntlett can play any position on the infield and either corner outfield positions, and Dobbs can play first and third. We don’t really have a bench player who can play center, but in rare situations when Victorino is pulled, Werth can slide over and play the position quite competently, with Stairs (suboptimal) or Bruntlett coming in to play right.

The big, big need for the bench is a right-handed bat, and Sheffield is really the best option. We cannot start the season with Miguel Cairo on the roster, he’s less valuable than 2008 So Taguchi.

Oh and philly_ies is right, Jones is washed up and Amaro would just be wasting time and money on him.

ryansommers: Perhaps you weren’t watching the same Cairo I was this spring? He did fine. He can also play all 7 posistions (not C) and Brunlett played CF during the spring.

We don’t need power, we need the timely single, walk or fly ball to opp field to move over a runner

fan_in_jerusalem, I watched nearly every spring game this year, but I’m more interested in his hitting since 2002, which has a sample size of 1,960 plate appearances versus the one game you watched.

In that time he’s been above the ML average for batting average once, so he’s not going to be getting many timely singles (and his win probability added has never risen above .5 in a season, and has been in the negative almost always, so the singles he was getting were not “timely”).

In that time his walk rate has been far below league average, his K/BB has been above league average only once, and his OBP has been well below average every season save one, so he’s not getting any of those walks you’re looking for, or getting on base much at all.

He’s just a terrible hitter, it’s that simple. Oh, and his career UZR/150 for outfield positions is -73.7. That is to say, he’s cost his teams 74 runs per 150 games with his defense in the outfield, so he’s not even much better than Sheffield or Stairs in that regard guys.

You were right about one thing though, it looks like Bruntlett has performed capably at CF in his career (36.4 UZR/150) so that’s fine with me if Werth and Victorino go out, but if only Victorino goes out it makes more sense to me to put Bruntlett in right and slide Werth over.

Charlie doesn’t like to take a ton of risks with putting utility guys at important defensive positions unless he has to, so that’s probably what he’ll do.

I only deal with what a bench player has done recently, ecpesially if they weren’t a bench player before. Since you seem to have a good grasp of the stats, what does his Phing look like? How does he hit when spot started (not starting within the last week) these are the important stats for him, not how he did as a starter

Todd, what’s with the lineup today?? Seems a bit strange so close to opening day to play Brulett at 1B, bat Vic leadoff, play Ellison in LF: WTF?? is there a reason here besides charlie’s whim?

Spring training is really not a reliable metric for that kind of thing though, especially given the small amount of plate appearances.

As a pinch hitter Cairo has hit .284 /.347 /.391 but again, sample size is important; that’s in 200 plate appearances whereas the stats I listed earlier were in 2,000.

Ryan, Do you go by a different name on Phila.com?? The 200 abs may be a smaller sample, but a more realistic one. As anyone who has been there knows, pinch hitting is nothing like hitting while palying every day. Good Pinch hitters ofter don’t do well when in lineup too often (coste) and good every day players can’t always PH well (Burell).
The ability to sit on a bench for 7-8 innings and then get up, grab a bat and get a cluctch hit is not easy to do. Look at Sheff’s stats as a PH. I stand by my opinion that Cairo is a perfect match for this team’s needs

I like the lineup today. All right handed for Sabathia, correct? It’ll be good practice for facing lefties later in the season.

Speaking of, I had no idea Ibanez had great stats against Johann Santana. .353 average in 34 ABs, 8 RBI. Nice.

BTW, Sheff as a pinch hitter has a .964 OPS in 38 appearances. Thanks, Tom.

Yeah, there is not really any statistical evidence that certain batters, in the long run, substantially outperform their other splits as a pinch hitter.

If I wanted to I could point out that Sheffield as a pinch hitter is .360/.500/.480, but I won’t, again because of sample size.

Yeah, but that’s 38 ABs in 17 years. not exactly a ealiable stat. What did he do as a PH the last 2-3 years? Can a DH be considered a PH? the idea is the same, get off the bench and hit, but as DH you know your hitting while a PH you don’t know until last minute. Food for thought

I’m not arguing that 38 ABs is a reliable stat. And I know you want me to be the dummy that has to report that Sheff is 2 for 5 in the last three years as a PH.

thats a .400 ave-not bad. However, 1.75 abs per year does not a pinch hitter make….

I think Howard and Ibanez were sitting today because they have pretty much got all of their work in and are ready to go. I suspect that they will sit during one of the Rays games at CBP too.

Any statistic for Sheffield as a PH will not be very informative, as he has hardly ever done it.

Al Leiter ( yes, that one) and Sean Casey of MLBNetwork spoke very highly of Sheffield as a teammate. Also, MLB Tonight interviewed him and he seemed like a decent person. I’ve seen ESPN interviews with the guy over the years where I thought he was a bit controversial. But we need a right-handed threat off the bench and who else is available? Worst case senerio, we waste $400,000.

Hello again =p

Just wanted to throw in my two cents about Gary Sheffield. I think the deciding factor with this guy will be whether or not he wants to take a major step back in at bats to play with the World Champs. A lot of people forget, the guy has 499 home runs. Whether or not he wants to be reduced to a pinch hitters role is something that I don’t see befitting his character. With that said, if there’s not an AL team that’s going to make him an offer, and he wants to accept the role, then by all means, send him the papers Reuben!
He would be a much better fit than Andruw Jones. I was reading some of the comments on the ZoZone, and I have to agree: he’s never gonna be the same player he was with the Braves a couple years back. That’s what the Rangers were hoping to get when they picked him up.
With that being said, I think that either of these guys are pretty much fail proof. You either have Sheffield or Jones as your right handed bat off the bench, or Miguel Cairo. Personally, I’d rather have one of the guys with a chance for some pop (mainly Sheffield, because Jones couldn’t hit the side of a barn anymore!) than a guy who can “play every position”. Besides, that’s what we have the Bruntlett Bomber for.
Bottom line: Sign Sheffield. Get it done. :D

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