Sheffield To The Big Apple

The Gary Sheffield sweepstakes didn’t last long, as the mercurial slugger signed with the Mets this afternoon. He will reportedly replace Marlon Anderson on the roster, so he’s being given the lowest hurdle to clear in the history of hurdling.

His role is being reported as right-fielder against left-handed pitching and pinch hitter on other days. Given that there weren’t any teams interested in him as a DH, this is probably the best fit he was going to find. With Carlos Beltran entrenched in center field and flanked by Ryan Church and Daniel Murphy, the Mets have three legitimate outfielders who can cover some ground, so they can afford to carry some guys for their bats.

With Fernando Tatis and now Sheffield in the fold, the Mets have some line-up flexibility in the outfield, giving them a pair of L/R platoon options. Sheffield shouldn’t be expected to play the outfield regularly, but as the right-handed portion of a platoon, he won’t be asked to play more than a few hundred innings in the outfield.

Even with his struggles last year, CHONE projects Sheffield as a league average hitter for 2009. If they can limit the amount of time he spends in the outfield and get him at-bats mostly against left-handed pitching, he could be a valuable role player. This is a good fit for both Sheffield and the Mets.




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Dave is a co-founder of USSMariner.com and contributes to the Wall Street Journal.


24 Responses to “Sheffield To The Big Apple”

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  1. Since when is Fernando Tatis a left-handed hitter?

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  2. CajoleJuice says:

    Shouldn’t that read “against left-handed pitching”?

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  3. vivaelpujols says:

    I don’t understand this move. They have a guy named Nick Evans who could offer the same, if not more, production for the league minimum and he can play above average defense. Also he would likely be included in the Mets future plans much more than Shef.

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    • Andrew Zwillinger says:

      I’m not a fan of the move either but Evans is not the answer. Evans had under 300 AB above high-A ball before his callup last year. His 100+ ABs at the major league level showed that he is not yet an effective player in either an everyday or platoon role. Evans deserves a full-time job at AAA and the opportunity to improve his game before he is recalled. There are unquestionably better options than Sheff (or Marlon Anderson, for that matter) but Evans is not one of them.

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  4. Phillies' Red says:

    I agree this looks to be the best fit for Sheff, but I’m not sure how it will work out for the Mets. As a PH, he’ll have some pop, but to get him substantial at bats, you’ve gotta play him in the field. The last time he saw serious action in the field (more than 100 games) he put up a -30 uzr/150. That same year (2005), the value of his offense barely outpaced his defensive deficiencies. Given that, four years later, he looks to be worse offensively and defensively, I just don’t see how this brings much overall value to the Mets. As a late inning PH, sure; but as a platoon player, I have some serious doubts.

    Also, you wrote: “His role is being reported as right-fielder against right-handed pitching.” Did you mean left-handed pitching?

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  5. EDUB says:

    No Manny but SHEFFIELD IS OK???

    This pretty much proves that the Wilpons were not willing to spend the money on Manny and not Omar thinking the club was fine the way it was as they eluded to by throwing him under the bus by stating the GM never approached them about signing Ramirez. Omar was on WFAN and said they added the right handed power bat that they have been lacking so obviously he knew there was a hole to be filled. These guys had the cash to get Manny and simply decided to not to. It infuriates me as a fan who spends a significant amount of money going to games after ticket hiles and buying merchandise and memorabilia when they refuse to put the best team on the field. Brand new stadium, lucrative tv deals, Bernie Madoff or not, they have the money.

    They also tried to spin it by blaming the antics of Ramirez when Sheffield has his own considerable issues. There is no denying the fact that it was all money motivated. Im not saying they have to spend like madmen or that they even have the obligation to try and contend, but to repeatedly put out the message that Ramirez isnt here because of “Manny being Manny” is BS.

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  6. brent in Korea says:

    To the hard-working Fangraphs team:
    I was looking at the Rolen for Glaus trade and looked at the fielding.
    Glaus Rolen

    -1.2 13.3

    1.7 12.5

    5.2 5.7

    These are their fielding values for the past three years. Glaus had a career high and Rolen a career worst. Is there a bias at one of these ballparks or both? What could explain this?

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  7. ted says:

    Murphy is playing everyday both Manuel and Omar have made no bones about that. I could see Sheff platooning with Church. The thing is will Sheff be fine about not playing everyday? He has thrown hissy fits about playing time in the past. I am of the opinion that he’s done but we’ll see.

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    • Max says:

      There’s no question his role should be limited to a platoon at most.

      As a fan, I don’t worry about him not liking it because really, the Mets can always cut him at little expense. I do worry about the Mets thinking he’s a better full-time option than Church and basically ignoring the ginormous defensive gap. That’s the only way this signing becomes a major failure.

      RF is going to be a tough assignment in Citifield.

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  8. kris says:

    Could this mean some second-base at-bats for Murphy? I seem to recall him at least holding his own at 2B during AFL.

    I’m not sure what the number on Sheffield is, but the Mets seem to have enough flexibility to roster him. As Marlon Anderson aged, he obviously became less of a viable option to fill in at second, but he ‘could’ do it if needed. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Murphy fill a similar role when Sheff’s in the line-up, with him moving to the field and Castillo coming in for defense later in the game.

    Considering Manuel had already said Murphy was in for some 2-hole AB, this seems to make the most sense to me.

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  9. ted says:

    No second base for Murphy. They feel his future is at 1b. Manuel is talking about mixing Tatis in at 2b at times. The only time he can possibly play is when Perez or Maine is on the mound(kinda like when Mitchell and Hojo played SS when Sid pitched) As dar as them just dumping Sheff if he runs his mouth well I’d hope it would happen but Omar held onto Julio Franco for too long. Church has been banged up a lot over the coarse of his career. As far as Castillo I’d hit him 9th instead of 8th. When Livan and Santana are starting they are more likely to get an extra base hit than Castillo and by having Castillo 9th it could be like having two leadoff hitter with him late in the game possibly setting the table for Reyes. It should be interesting to see what Church is. The first 6-7 weeks he was the team best and most consistant hitter and then he had the concussion and the teams docs didn’t really take care of him by putting hoim on a plane and clearing hiom when he shouldn’t have been.He was rather terrible in September. I agree RF in Citi Field will be very very tough and Church is an elite defensive player while Sheff is a butcher. Citi played large tonight as Tatit and Reyes hit shots that are homers at Shea that stayed in the park today.

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  10. brian recca says:

    The Mets have Alex Cora to play second base, that is an excellent back up. And yes I heard Tatis might play second a bit, he came up as a second baseman. He is already being counted on as a back up corner infielder and corner outfielder.

    As for the lineup I still am a fan of batting Castillo first, as long as he maintains an OBP over .360 I see no reason why not.
    1 Luis Castillo
    2 Daniel Murphy
    3 Jose Reyes
    4 David Wright
    5 Carlos Delgado
    6 Carlos Beltran
    7 Ryan Church
    8 Brian Schneider/ Ramon Castro
    9 Pitcher

    I like this better.

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    • big baby says:

      yea, let’s make sure reyes/wright/beltran/delgado all get less at-bats for luis castillo.

      how retarded can you possibly be?

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  11. I don’t see how Gary Sheffield can help the Mets even if he hits a little bit. He has barely played in the outfield over the past two years ago and even before that he was a liability in the field. With new importance on defense in baseball I’m surprised any national league team would even take a second look at him.

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    • Max says:

      2 reasons Gary Sheffield can help the Mets a little bit

      1. Church’s last 3 years vs. lefties: .249/.318/.381
      2. Mets rankings for ph slugging in the NL the last 3 yrs: 16th, 11th, 13th

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      • What about when Gary flips out because he expects to play everyday? If his numbers are down and he’s playing 1 out of 2 games he’s going to blame it on not playing enough and then he’ll criticize the manager and the team.

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      • Max says:

        Then he complains. Big deal. Either you cut him and lose a mind-blowing 400K or you just live with it.

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  12. ted says:

    Sheff has like 40 pinch hitting appearances over the coarse of his career there is no way of knowing whether he’ll be good at it. Cora is overpaid at 2 million imo. The Mets could have had Wiggy for a million more and he can play numerous position and kills lefties. Cora would be an okay pick up if you had a good second baseman but with Castillo you my need someone ready to step in and play everyday and Cora is not much of a hitter. I would have rather signed Grudz or Durham. They are far superior players than Cora.

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  13. Ron says:

    Ted, can you please learn to spell before you post. You have good comments, but the spelling, oh man…. hard to take you seriously when you write “coarse” …

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  14. ted says:

    My keyboard is messed up, sorry. My spell check isn’t working either.

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  15. ted says:

    What was Church’s numbers vs lefties in ’08? I seem to recall him hitting them well early on. He didn’t hit anyone the last six weeks of the year.

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