Remember that $10 million contract that the penny-pinching Athletics gave to former four-time NL All-Star, Ben Sheets?
Well, after the first month of the season, critics of A’s GM, Billy Beane, would probably say that the A’s paid way too much for Sheets. While the optimist inside of me is telling me that Sheets will rebound, my pessimistic side is writing BUST all over Sheets’ $10 million contract. Kidding aside, however, it is difficult to understand why the A’s forked over such an expensive contract (to their standards) to a pitcher who missed the entire 2009 season.
In the first month of the season, Sheets made five starts, going 1-2 with a 5.00 ERA in 27.1 innings. Last weekend, in his first start in May, Sheets was torched for nine runs in just 3.1 innings. In his last two starts (@TB, @TOR), Sheets allowed a combined 17 runs in 7.1 innings of work. He also allowed a combined 19 hits, and allowed a combined five homeruns.
While he claims that he’s felt healthy all season-long, Sheets has hardly looked like the former All-Star he once was. Sheets has been extremely hittable in most of his starts (32 hits allowed in 27.1 innings), and has had trouble striking batters out. Currently, Sheets has a K/BB ratio of 16/16, which is very un-Sheets like.
At 1-3, Sheets hopes to make necessary improvements and work deeper into the games he starts. The A’s took a huge gamble with Sheets, and for the most part it has not paid off yet. With the A’s already suffering from some serious injury problems (which has me questioning the strength/conditioning trainers), Sheets will have to rebound and start pitching deeper into games. The A’s bullpen has been solid, but in Sheets’ last two starts, they’ve been overworked.
Without Brett Anderson, and possibly Justin Duchscherer, Ben Sheets will need to become the ace Oakland had expected him to be.