Ben Sheets in contract year

3 03 2008

I know I put up a similar post a couple days ago, but Nat from MLB Trade Rumors talks about what’s going to happen with Ben Sheets after this year.  He outlines Mike Hunt’s point from a couple days ago.

If he gets hurt and struggles this season, the Brewers cannot afford the risk involved in resigning him.  If he pitches very well and is a stud like Milwaukee needs him to be, the Brewers will not be able to afford his price tag.  All signs point to the Ben Sheets era in Milwaukee to end after this season.

Nat then talks about how the Brewers will be able to weather the storm because Yovani Gallardo will be waiting in the wings.  He also mentions that the free agent pool for starting pitching will be extremely deep next year, so the Brewers should have no problem finding someone to step in for a year or two if they need it.  With Manny Parra probably starting the year in Triple-A and serving as insurance, he will be the likely person to fill the final spot in the rotation in ’09.   If Ben pitches very well this season, he could be a Type-A free agent as well, meaning the Brewers will get a couple draft picks in compensation for their loss.

I have an interesting thought that hasn’t really been mentioned this off-season.  If Ben Sheets struggles in the first half of the season, he could be traded if Doug Melvin sees the right deal for the ace.  Even if the Brewers are doing well, he could be traded if he is not helping the team.  That is incredibly far-fetched, but I could see it happening.  If Melvin does not feel confident that Sheets will garner the team a couple draft picks, he could be shipped at the trade deadline.  It would not be a popular move, but fans need to look at the larger picture in that context.  It could be the best move for Milwaukee in that scenario.

With that said, I do not think that Ben will struggle this year.  I said a couple weeks ago that I have a sneaking feeling that Ben is going to put up Cy Young caliber numbers this year.  People will say I’m crazy because of his injury-prone history, but Ben sounds extra motivated this season.  Whenever I hear or read an interview with Ben, he sounds like he wants, or needs, to prove every critic wrong this season.  Whether it’s because he’s in his contract year or not, I have no idea.  I just know that he sounds like a man on a mission this off-season.  I expect BIG numbers from Ben.

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