The local NBC outfit is trying its hand at Cubs news and rumors, and what they came up with is… um, poor.
The Cubs are in search of pitching. This is underscored by the never ending, yet futile, quest for Jake Peavy, as well as Lou Piniella’s declaration that the team needs a lefty. Now, it appears that Brewers pitcher Ben Sheets is available. At first glance, it makes no sense for the Cubs to sign Sheets, but after a little consideration, you could see how Sheets could be a valuable addition to the Cubs.
Probably should have just stopped at that first glance. The rest of this idea after the jump.
First, the negatives. Sheets needs surgery on his shoulder, and whoever signs him will have the burden of paying for that surgery and rehab. The surgery means that Sheets probably won’t be available until the second half of the season. He is also not a lefty, has played eight seasons, all with Milwaukee, and has the seemingly mediocre record of 86-83.
He is also not a lefty. Wow. I don’t know what’s more baffling: that that fact is chalked up as a negative, or that it even necessitated saying.
Sheets coming back for post-All Star break baseball could be manna from heaven for the Cubs, when the team’s pitchers need a rest. Piniella is a master at conserving his players, and helping them peak at the right time. A veteran, playoff-tested pitcher like Sheets could be perfect for Piniella to use when resting the team’s starters. More than that, he is familiar with the ballparks and players of the NL Central.
Yes, and the players of the NL Central are familiar with him. “Two-way street.” And I hate to be the contrarian, but if Piniella is so good at conserving his players and having them peak at the right time, why are the Cubs 0-6 in the only games that matter under Piniella?
Secondly, if Sheets is on the Cubs, he cannot face the Cubs. Despite his overall mediocrity, Sheets has been a Cubs-killer. Aramis Ramirez has hit just .232, and Alfonso Soriano just .267. He just beats up on the Cubs, plain and simple, but if he is a Cub, logic would dictate that Sheets would no longer be able to strike out Cubs’ players.
Whoa. I just had my mind blown. I’m not sure exactly what impressive syllogism the writer is using here, but I think it involves obviousness and time travel.
Before Sheets can become a part of the Cubs, he will have to make some concessions. First, he has to agree to an incentive-laden one-year contract with an option for the second year. The Cubs should not tie up a ton of money in a risk, but at the same time, the Cubs will have to pay for his surgery.
Yes, the Cubs can’t take any of the risk, but should get the benefit of any of the reward. Just like *every other team in MLB who offers Sheets a contract will do.*
This isn’t ground-breaking stuff. Sheets, if he pitches at all this year, is unlikely to pitch well. So a one-year, minimum contract and an option for 2010 is the starting point of talks with Sheets, not the end point. The Cubs aren’t in a position to be planning for 2010 right now, and Sheets is far too unlikely to help in 2009 to be a large presence on the Cubs’ radar.
If they give Sheets a look in June – when they would finally not have to give up draft pick compensation to sign him – fine. But before then, it’s not worth it. And even after then, it probably won’t be worth it for this team.