Why Ben Sheets May Choose Oakland

bensheetsThe rumors swirling around Ben Sheets recently have included the Oakland Athletics, which may come as a surprise to some people considering their budgetary concerns.

But from Ben Sheets’ perspective, signing with the A’s makes a lot of sense.

For one thing, making a comeback in Oakland should be less stressful than, say, New York City, Chicago, or a similarly large market. Let’s not forget that Sheets spent his entire career in small town Milwaukee, so there’s a comfort thing. Besides the smaller number of press and journalists hounding him 24 hours a day, there would likely be less pressure for Sheets to pitch if he suffers a minor setback.

But also important is the fact that by signing with the Athletics, Sheets is almost guaranteed to be in the thick of a pennant race. How so? Looking at Billy Beane’s past history, one would assume that he would hang on to Ben Sheets as long as the A’s are contending. But if things look even slightly bleak, Beane will be sure to trade Sheets in July to a desperate team that is either fighting for a playoff spot or fending off close rivals while sitting atop the standings.

So in a way, choosing Oakland could be Ben Sheets’ best decision — presuming his ultimate goal is to pitch in the postseason.

Now, if his main goal is about money, that’s a different story entirely.

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. TheDZA January 26, 2010 at 2:11 pm
    Bang on Joe.
    Mets left with just a mattress and a pillow…and no shee…(sorry had to)
  2. gary s. January 26, 2010 at 3:18 pm
    joe, here’s my guess on how this goes..as per your theory, sheets will flourish in oakland, they will be out of the race and the phillies will trade 4 him in july (ala cliff lee in 2009)to add to doc halliday giving the philles the best 1-2 starters in baseball.Meanwhile at citicavern, the seats will be empty and even shake shack will be customer free..too bad my jets couldn’t get to the super bowl and i wouldn’t have paid attention to the mets for another 2 weeks !!
  3. Eric_Valent_Hit_For_The_Cycle January 26, 2010 at 9:48 pm
    I liked Sheets at 7-8 mil but I dislike him at 10 mil guaranteed with a player option. This move is good for the A’s but would have been bad for the Mets. The A’s could use Sheets for a half of season and if he proves he can pitch they can trade him at the deadline to a team who needs a pitcher for some good young prospects. If they can’t get anything then they keep a healthy Sheets. They thing is WILL HE STAY HEALTHY? The A’s have not made too many offseason moves so im sure they could afford to take a shot with 10 mil to improve the rotation and show the fans they look at least decent in a division which hosts the Mariners, Rangers and Angels.

    The Mets would have been taking a really really big chance on Sheets. The Mets have a ton of question marks on the team as it is. Signing Sheets to 10 mil plus a player option would have handcuffed the Mets if he got hurt.

    I have been saying it all off season that Ching Ming Wang is the wildcard in the FA Market. He is the diamond in the rough. He is just turning 30 and has back to back 19 win seasons on the biggest stage in the biggest market on the biggest team. Im sure his career is far from over and he will be a productive Ace like pitcher once again. Especially if he is put in the National League with a ball park like Citifield. He would be a ground ball machine while giving up next to no home runs.

  4. gary s. January 27, 2010 at 12:28 am
    once smoltz signs with another team (not that i want him), omar will have completed a perfect off season, by whiffing on every f.a. pitcher on the market who could helped the mets.nice work!! all of sudden, i’m a little worried about jason bay’s knees.after all our doctors passed him on his physical.on the flip side, ollie perez got thru one day of mets minicamp without going on the d.l. i would not want to be a met season ticket package salesperson right now.i would think tickets are moving a little slowly
  5. joejanish January 27, 2010 at 12:31 am
    Eric_Valent – True, Sheets is a huge gamble. But looking at where the Mets are right now, it’s as big a gamble NOT to sign someone like Sheets. To me the Mets appear to be on course for a long, unhappy season — and might possibly have to struggle to stay ahead of the Nats. With a healthy Sheets, though, they’d look — on paper, anyway — like they can fight for a postseason spot.

    As for Wang, most reports indicate that he won’t be ready until at least June / July. Further, his problem was a shoulder tear — something that could take a long time to heal and required a surgery that does not promise as “automatic” a recovery as Tommy John elbow surgery, for example.

    If Wang is healthy, yes, I’d love to have him. But even if he fully recovers, he likely won’t be available until the Mets are out of the race. But I do like him for 2011.

  6. isuzudude January 27, 2010 at 7:58 am
    I’m siding with Mr Valent – I think a $10-mil investment for the Mets would have been a bit overindulgent, as well as unrealistic. If “sure bets” like Piniero and Marquis were going for $6-8 mil per year, it’s tough to justify giving $10-mil to a guy like Sheets who is such a constant health risk and hasn’t thrown a pitch in over a year. His potential is sky high, agreed. But so is his risk, especially at that dollar amount, and especially for a team with so many other health risks already. I’m not going to fault the Mets for letting this fish get away.

    I guess there’s still the possibility, what with the free agent market having dwindled down to Pedro, Smoltz, Washburn, Bedard, and Wellemeyer as the best available, that the Mets look to a trade to improve the staff. Bronson Arroyo is everyone’s favorite target, but the Reds are going to sense the Mets’ desperation and will want a king’s ransom for him, I’m sure. Maybe Aaron Harang is the better (cheaper) alternative.

    gary: you don’t consider R.A. Dickey to be a starting pitcher who can help the Mets? Omar was quick to snatch him up early this offseason, knowing his demand was high. At this point you have to assume it’s going to come down to Lincecum, Halladay, and Dickey for the NL Cy Young.

  7. gary s. January 27, 2010 at 12:41 pm
    dude, u forgot to add ollie to the cy young mix.is there a mercy rule in mlb?i heard tim kurchian on espn this morning and he said the mets have a problem doing 2 things at one time when it comes to signing f.a.’s.it’s starting to look like they have problems doing one thing at a time lately.in retrospect, if there was another bidder for jay bay, he probably would have gone elsewhere too.
  8. DC Niner January 28, 2010 at 11:13 am
    What fans. No wonder your team is the minor league club in your big apple. You all write books to blast your own team. Met fans are truly pathetic. You want it both ways. You want all the players but don’t want to pay. Do youthink your field is special. We allhave nice new stadiums, well most of us. Yours ain’t nothing better than the others, justlike your team is nothing better, but you fans are the worst in the world. No wonder your owner likes theDodgers best. LOL.
  9. gary s. January 28, 2010 at 11:47 am
    dc, u are a troll..look it up.i’ll give u a hint.it’s akin to stuff u find on the bottom of your shoe.please go back to a yankee blog where u can hang with the “winners”.