Breaking News: Mets Sign Sheffield
According to SI.com, the Mets have signed Gary Sheffield. It is believed the contract will be for the league minimum $400,000 – the Tigers would presumably pay the rest of Sheffield’s contract:
Sheffield chose the Mets over the Phillies and Reds because he believes he’ll get more playing time with the Mets — although Mets people have said no promises have been made.
He’s expected to be mainly a right-handed pinch hitter off the bench and occasionally spell Ryan Church in right field. Mets people also hope the added competition might spur Church, who struggled in the second half last year.
- Aging Slugger… Check
- Bad Attitude… Check
- Right Handed Power Bat in the Outfield… Check
It looks like the only thing holding back the Mets from signing Manny Ramirez was a few million dollars.
I question why the Mets didn’t go after Wily Mo Pena or even Dallas MacPherson. There are a few other right-handed bats still available, but Sheffield is the biggest PR splash that Omar could muster on a tight budget.
However, I strongly disagree about the signing of Shef being a “big PR splash.” First of all, last night was the first game the Mets ever played at their new CitiField, yet that huge story needed to share the spotlight with the team’s signing of Sheffield. Much like last year’s firing of Willie, which occured after a victory and when the team was in California, the timing is terrible. Secondly, all we’ve been hearing about this spring, despite the high number of players participating in the WBC, is that the Mets have this new sense of team unity and camaraderie. Why now, when there’s less than 4 days before the start of the season, does Omar choose to potentially wreck the cohesion by injecting a known malcontent into the fold? Thirdly, how great of a PR move is it when you have your own broadcast team openly questioning the acquisition on last night’s telecast? I praise Gary, Keith, and Ron for speaking their minds and not sugar coating everything because they follow the Mets, and their questions last night about how Sheffield will adapt to his new role and what impact he could have in the clubhouse and with the other players that he steals playing time from were dead on. To me, the signing of Sheffield is more of the negative PR the team needs to desperately separate themselves from, which kept bearing its ugly head last year during the managerial change, Church’s concussion treatment, Heilman’s struggles in the bullpen, and Castillo’s ineffectiveness at 2B. If everything was hunky-dorey before the signing, and the Mets were projected to be a 90+ win, playoff-bound team, then why throw the monkey wrench into the equation now – especially of the Gary Sheffield ilk?
As usual, you make a good point. As usual, I think I wasn’t clear in explaining what I meant. My bad.
The Willie firing is a perfect example of mishandling of a situation by the Mets brass, in an attempt to spin it as a positive. The Mets are woefully inept when it comes to PR – whether positive or negative. The problem is usually caused by trying to make everything seem rosy when it is obvious that things are far worse than they let on (see also: Kazmir trade, firing Bobby V after he had been given the job for life, etc.).
Back to Sheffield – I think Omar wanted Manny. I think he realizes this is a severely flawed team. I think Omar knew that he needed a powerful right-handed bat in the outfield. I think he’s right.
The Madoff scandal may have hit the Mets harder than the Wilpons would like to admit. That is understandable, but they would prefer it if Mets fans thought Manny wasn’t a fit for the Mets because of his age, attitude, etc… I don’t believe that for a second.
Sheffield is a poor man’s Manny and that’s why the Mets got him. They NEEDED Manny, but they will settle for Sheffield.
Looking at the other available RH power bats (Pena, Jones, McPherson, Frank Thomas, etc. etc.), Sheffield is the only guy who you could possibly expect to have a big year if everything works out perfectly – he’s a scrap heap pickup with a big name and he might have one big year left in his bat. And if not, Omar can say it just didn’t work out and it was only 400k… This is standard operating procedure.
From a PR perspective, the Mets are hoping this will give the Mets the right-handed pop they need and it will erase the memory of Manny from the mind of the collective fanbase. Although the move may help the Mets on the field, I think they lost a ton of goodwill with the fanbase with this signing.
And losing goodwill with the fanbase is typical of how the Mets handle things. There’s your PR splash. Ugh.
2. With so many left-handed crap-outs, Sheffield from the RH-side is a beautiful alternative. Marlon Anderson is making over a million dollars this season; Jeremy Reed will be paid something like 900k…..Sheffield will be paid 400k.
(P.S. — Why not just cut Marlon Anderson at this point….the same people crying over Sheff’s negative influence are probably the ones who cite Anderson’s “clubhouse presence” as a reason to keep him. It’s time for this team to grow a pair…)
3. Murphy will be going around the league with scouting reports now in-hand — and Ryan Church may or may not blossom into an everyday RF. Sheffield as a 400k insurance policy is an absolute no-brainer.
4. If he acts up, then you cut him…..plain and simple. The Mets need to be proactive in lieu of passive in this case….it gets to that point, and you just break out the scissors.
He’ll only become a “distraction” if management allows it.
Good job by the Mets here…..now we’ll see how it plays out in actuality.