Jenkins vs. Sheff in 2009

As Dave noted yesterday, both Geoff Jenkins and Gary Sheffield were released by the Phillies and Tigers, respectively. The Phillies are on the books for Jenkins entire $8 mil salary while the Tigers will continue to pay $14 mil to Sheffield. Both players are available for the league minimum because of this, which makes them much more attractive assets. In fact, without this stipulation, they would be hardpressed to find employment.

Phillies GM Ruben Amaro apparently contacted Sheffield and his agent, opening up the possibility of replacing a 34-yr old lefthanded hitter who has always played solid defense and can still run the bases with a 40-yr old righty capable of nothing more than pinch-hitting.

Now reports are circulating that Sheffield has an interest in joining the Florida Marlins, perhaps to finish his career with the team on which he did the most damage. One small problem: the Marlins might actually be more interested in Jenkins given the factors detailed above. Sheffield to the Fish would definitely have that glory days type of feel but Jenkins could simply do more for a team like that.

CHONE sees Jenkins capable of a .257/.327/.438 line with Sheff at .242/.341/.415 in virtually the same number of opportunities. Neither player is going to start, or at least neither should start, but if the two appear to be this close with the bat, and Jenkins gets the clear edge in fielding and running, as well as a 6-yr advantage in terms of youth, how could he not be the more viable option? Considering that neither will start, Jenkins is more reliable as a late-inning defensive replacement as well as a pinch-runner.

At $400,000, both of these players should find homes, but do not be surprised if Jenkins garners much more attention than Sheffield and his 499 dingers. Sheffield has had by far the better career but speaking strictly about what can be added to a team in 2009, Jenkins is the far better bet.

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Eric is an accountant and statistical analyst from Philadelphia. He also covers the Phillies at Phillies Nation and can be found here on Twitter.

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