Rosenthal Thinks Ben Sheets Ends Up with the Cubs

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Rosenthal Thinks Ben Sheets Ends Up with the Cubs

Chicago Cubs

Wouldn’t it be incredible to be a pundit? Readers hang on your every word – no doubt earned after years of excellent writing and reporting.

So I don’t begrudge Ken Rosenthal his following or his platform. But when he tosses out predictions like the Chicago Cubs signing Ben Sheets, it would be nice if he had something there to back it up.

Ben Sheets — Arguably the best starting pitcher in the entire free-agent class, but the question remains: Is he healthy?

Sheets missed all of last season while recovering from elbow surgery. Teams likely will want to see him throw before deciding whether he is worthy of an investment.

He still makes the most sense for a high-revenue club that can absorb the risk, but the Yankees and Red Sox do not figure to spend more on starting pitching.

Prediction: Cubs.

via FOX Sports on MSN.

On what basis, Ken? Look, I’d love to see the Cubs land Sheets. But for that to happen, it would have to be an incentive-laden deal, or at a minimum a one-year deal with a low salary and a big money option for 2011. The Cubs, regrettably, are up against a serious budget crunch, with most sources – including Jim Hendry, himself – indicating that the team has, at most, another $4 to 6 million left to spend after the Marlon Byrd signing.

And Ben Sheets has given no indication that he’d go for a deal like that. He’s been asking for multiple years at more than $10 million per year. Sure, he’s not going to get it, but he’s going to get something more than the chicken scratch the Cubs would prefer to spend on a high risk player.

Maybe if the market for him continues to fade, we can have this conversation. And maybe Ben Sheets will end up with the Cubs. But for now, Sheets is a costly risk that this team, as con$titued, can’t afford. Given that, you’d think Rosenthal would offer at least some justification for his prediction.

Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.