That’s all folks. You know, $10 million doesn’t go as far as it used to. The A’s announced on Wednesday that pitcher Ben Sheets, Billy Beane’s $10 million investment, is going to miss the rest of the 2010 season. Sheets, who signed a one-year deal in January, went 4-9 with a 4.53 ERA in 20 starts with Oakland. Despite his efforts, Sheets was unable to maintain any kind of momentum, and was relatively mediocre for the season. While he had shown some signs of improvement (2.25 ERA in July), Sheets did not impress many scouts as trade rumors swirled around his name these past few weeks. Sheets’ velocity was in the high 80’s, and was inconsistent at times. This is definitely discouraging for the A’s, who have been dealing with the injury bug for quite some time.
Losing Sheets, who was an important figure for the younger guys in the rotation, does not bode well for Oakland’s postseason chances. Entering Thursday, the A’s are 7.5 games behind the first-place Rangers, who have Cliff Lee atop their rotation now. While the Sheets deal was openly criticized, I do understand why Beane was so willing to dish out that much money to a player who was coming off an injury. The A’s had attempted to sign Adrian Beltre, and Marco Scutaro, but had no luck in doing so. So, with the extra cash—and no one else to spend it on—Beane decided to go after a four-time NL All-Star. Is veteran leadership and a good clubhouse presence worth $10 million? No, of course not. But Sheets did give it his all. Unfortunately, despite his best efforts, Sheets was unable to return to his once dominant-self.
Also confirmed Wednesday, was the fact that Sheets will need another flexor tendon surgery. At 32, Sheets might just decide to retire instead of having to undergo another surgery and the process of finding another team. With the surgery, Sheets would probably miss most of the 2011 season, thus making retirement a sensible alternative. However, due to his competitiveness, I would count out Sheets.
The A’s took a risk in signing Sheets, and for the most part the deal was probably not worth it. However, I do agree with Beane and the notion that Sheets’ veteran leadership has had some impact on the young rotation.