Tuesday, March 16, 2010
30 A's in 30 Days – Ben Sheets
Acquired: Signed as free agent (January 26, 2010).
Contract: One year thru 2010. (Eligible for free agency after season.)
Position: Half-man, half-disabled list.
Projected ERA: 3.83
Over/Under: I pilloried this deal to death when it went down, so let's jump off with some positive thinking – take the UNDER on Sheets' projection. The A's aren't getting the 2004-05 version of the pitcher who posted a 2.95 ERA and 1.016 WHIP in just under 400 innings, but there are a few reasons for cautious optimism. Oakland's home ballpark – have you heard about their spacious foul territory? – still plays as a pitcher's park and Sheets will have a pretty nice defense behind him.
His health is still the biggest question mark heading into the season, but Sheets is also auditioning for a midseason move to a contender. No one expects him to be on the roster by August 1 and it won't take much for the pressures of this inevitability – and the small sample size of a few bad performances – to seep into Sheets' head and/or fracture team chemistry. (Here's Exhibit A in my theory.)
By the Numbers: .076 – That's Sheets' career batting average (33 for 433). I know it won't come into play much in Oakland, but it gives me one more thing to shake my fist at in a comically threatening manner.
Surefire 2010 Prediction: Pencil Sheets in for 16 starts with the A's this season. I figure a starting pitcher averages about 5.5 starts per month. Subtract Sheets' guaranteed four-week disabled list visit during the regular season and the deadline deal that moves him off the roster…16 starts. It's science.
Snoop Dogg Track for the Season: Wrong Idea