11:49am: Ben Sheets will throw for teams Tuesday at the University of Louisiana at Monroe, reports ESPN’s Tim Kurkjian. Said Sheets: “They’re going to like what they see.” Kurkjian indicates six to ten teams have expressed interest, the Cubs included. Kurkjian believes a one-year deal with incentives is in order. He says to “keep an eye on Seattle,” given Jack Zduriencik’s familiarity with Sheets. The Mariners were first connected to Sheets on December 11th by Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.
Kurkjian talked to Sheets about his year off from baseball, after the righty had flexor tendon surgery in February. Sheets feels “refreshed” and “fantastic,” and seems raring to go. He thinks he can regain his old form, adding “Watch, I’ll show ‘em.”
I wouldn’t expect him to say anything else, given the fact that he’s still on the open market and is selling his services to prospective bidders. But in this case, I believe him. His comments match up with his huge asking price (believed to be around 12 mil) and he’d better look great if he’s going to back up those kinds of salary demands in the current marketplace. The elbow surgery he had wasn’t Tommy John, it was the less serious Flexor Tendon variety, which is the kind that pitchers generally bounce back from well. Yankee fans may remember that top prospect Dellin Betances had the very same procedure last year and Mariano Rivera had it as well when he was in the minor leagues.
Unfortunately, I don’t see the Yanks getting involved in the bidding. They already have an excess of starting pitchers, to the point where Joba, Hughes, Mitre, Gaudin and Alfredo Aceves will all battle for ONE rotation spot this spring. They are said to only have 2 mil left to spend, and have a need to fill in Left Field. I’ve always been a big Ben Sheets fan, and while his injury history is long this is the first time it was anything arm related. I’ll venture a guess that he’s going to have a big season for someone next year. If the Mets were smart (ahem) they’d be very aggressive in pursuing him.
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