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Ben Sheets looks like waste of $10 million for A's

May 3, 2010, 8:57 AM EDT

Ben Sheets was awful again Sunday afternoon against the Blue Jays, allowing nine runs while failing to make it out of the fourth inning. Here’s what he said afterward:

My breaking ball is absolutely getting walloped every time I throw it. I wouldn’t say my location has been this bad maybe since my rookie year. I feel good, I feel healthy. To keep leaning on that crutch is kind of getting old. For me, I can’t even get a rhythm of having fun out there. Every pitch I’ve thrown so far this year has been bearing down, worried about my pitch, worried about this, worried about that.

Toronto knocked him around for eight extra-base hits, including three homers, and Sheets now has a 7.12 ERA and abysmal 16/16 K/BB ratio in 30.1 innings overall this season. His velocity is at career-low levels after missing all of 2009 following elbow surgery and Oakland’s one-year gamble looks more and more like $10 million flushed away.

  1. BC - May 3, 2010 at 9:22 AM

    Can they send him down to AAA and see if he ever gets it back?
    I mean, their division is putrid enough that they might have a chance at hanging in there – why put someone out there who is clearly not ready to pitch?

  2. Joey B - May 3, 2010 at 9:47 AM

    Just IMHO, but it looks to me like Beane is signing guys, hoping that they’re good, and then hoping to trade them away for a profit.

  3. ecp - May 3, 2010 at 10:06 AM

    That’s exactly what Beane does; it’s no secret. It’s a gamble that occasionally pays off. Plus the A’s keep their farm system well stocked that way. But this year it seems like Beane had a lot of extra scratch burning a hole in his pocket; he gave inexplicably large amounts of money to two guys who basically didn’t play last year, Sheets and Coco Crisp.

  4. Eat a Peach - May 3, 2010 at 10:24 AM

    I’m with BC – Vin Mazzaro is setting them down in the PCL, give him a shot and let Ben go work out in the sunshine somewhere and try to get a feel for old Uncle Charlie.

  5. Dr. Richard Crowley - May 3, 2010 at 11:02 AM

    Ben Sheets definitely has a “disconnect”, and “invisible opponent” running him and his issue is not mechanics. It just manifests in is mechanics and confidence. All his pitching abilities are alive and well! Reread his comment. He spells out how perplexed he is trying to figure out what is happening. Sometimes after an injury or surgery is healed and the Doc gives the green light, a player is still struggling. It can be resolved easily in a short period of time. Shawn Green had the same experience at the plate with the Dodgers between 2003-2004. We worked on it and he broke out of his prolonged slump. Sheets can have the same results with what I have been doing with ball players since 1983. Have somebody who knows him get in touch with me. Dr. Crowley

  6. Todd Willoughby - May 3, 2010 at 11:27 AM

    Shawn Green also had the magical power of the steroids era. Don’t ever believe in miracles at that time. Or 4 homer games.

  7. scatterbrian - May 3, 2010 at 12:33 PM

    Your evidence is a four homer game?

  8. Mike Bettencourt - May 3, 2010 at 1:11 PM

    Blah, Blah, Blah. Why does this and all other media forums totally ignore the San Diego Padres. They have the 2nd best record in baseball and one of the best pitching staffs(see 3 shutouts this past weekend). Sick and tired of hearing about the Mets, Cubs, Mariners etc. Somebody at HBT, please do a feature on one of the more exciting and surprising temas so far this season.

  9. APBA Guy - May 3, 2010 at 1:13 PM

    It’s not just Sheets, the A’s were 1-5 on this roadtrip, getting pounded in all their losses.
    Both ecp and Eat a Peach are correct: There are plenty of guys the A’s could find at AAA (especially Mazzaro) who could take a spot for a week or two to give Sheets a little break from the spotlight. And Sheets represents 18.2% of the team’s payroll this year. If Beane were to try to trade him now, and trading Sheets was always the plan, Sheets wouldn’t bring much in return. If they can turn him around by July they can get at least two quality prospects and save about $ 3.4M of that salary.
    I’ve complained pretty bitterly about the amount of money the A’s are pocketing this year. Some of that money could have been spent on some second and third tier free agents for depth, since the division is wide open.
    But every A’s management decision has to looked at in the context of moving the team. Showing a profit, like the Feesh do, actually increases the value of the franchise. The A’s will be profitable this year. Which means that if Wolfe/Fisher can’t move the team, they can sell at a gain. The fans and winning are secondary concerns. Winning would certainly make the team more valuable, but to a lesser degree than profitability and only if winning can be shown to be repeatable.

  10. Eat a Peach - May 3, 2010 at 1:23 PM

    That’s exactly it, and why the A’s should let Sheets go to instructional league, or somewhere there’s no numbers. His trade value needs to be rehabilitated by the trade deadline or he’s an unrecoverable sunk cost.

  11. scatterbrian - May 3, 2010 at 1:26 PM

    “Which means that if Wolfe/Fisher can’t move the team, they can sell at a gain.”
    If they can’t move the team do you think that’s a possibility? Bring on Cuban!

  12. Grinder - May 3, 2010 at 1:35 PM

    And people wonder why the Brewers (who had zero pitching staff) gave up on him so easily!

  13. Professor Longnose - May 3, 2010 at 2:14 PM

    OK, I’ll play. Go, Padres!!
    Seriously, do you recommend any good Padres blogs where I can read about this team that I know very little about?
    I remember Randy Jones and Nate Colbert.

  14. destiny_driven - May 3, 2010 at 2:18 PM

    Billy Beane is a genius when it comes to evaluating baseball talent. There is NO ONE better!
    Ben Sheets was a staff ace before the injury. Beane invested ten million dollars, in hopes that he would come away with an ace to lead his young pitching phenoms to the promised land. After all, Sheets has a MLB life time ERA of 3.79, with 1222 K’s in 1478 IP’s, while playing for all of those sucky Brewers teams.
    Expecting Ben Sheets to immediately return to form the first month of the season is stupidity. He has over a year of rust on him. It isn’t going to happen over night. If this were spring training, no one would think anything about this. The results are only amplified because the bell has rung.
    Billy Beane is not the problem and I am 100% confident that Sheets returns to form. Even if he doesn’t, ten million for the chance at a staff ace is still a great gamble.
    Hell, the Red Sox spent $45 million just to win the rights to talk to Daisuke Matsuzaka, and another $52 million to sign him. What is he this year? 0-1 with an 11.57 ERA and a 2.14 WHIP? And Matsuzaka had the benefit of pitching four games at the end of last season that Sheets didn’t have.
    The bottom line is that if you want to win, it takes talent, and talent costs money. Ben Sheets is a winner and is far from washed up.

  15. The Happy Houngan - May 3, 2010 at 2:47 PM

    Dra possedait dapre yon lwa ki mal. Syans moden ou kapab fe anyen pou l. Di l pou achte yon gra jenn ti kabrit ak pote l pou m. Mwen pral geri l ak ajoute de met fastball l.

  16. toolkien - May 3, 2010 at 2:52 PM

    From a Brewer fan –
    Sheets generally has been prone to injuries over his career which in my opinion is due to his being out of shape (at least for making millions of dollars). Every year he would have a paunch with his shirt barely tucked in, and sure enough, every year he’d have one or two nagging problems. Then, of course, in his “contract year” he was thinned down and pitching lights out until a real injury sidelined him.
    He has now rehabbed etc etc but I see he’s back to his 15-20 lbs over ideal and he is pitching poorly. It is no surprise. I think this is probably the end result of years of mailing it in when the contract had several years to go and only caring when the money was back on the line, and now he’s too worn down to come back.
    Basically he’s the poster child of what I see in baseball today – guys who only care when the next contract is coming up.

  17. Boo Hoo Florio picked on your team - GET OVER IT - May 5, 2010 at 7:54 AM

    Aaron, I respect your writing abilities, but I think you are off the mark on Sheets as are a lot of the commentators here. Ben Sheets needs more time to prove whether he is a bust. He didn’t pitch at all last year and is recovering from a pretty major surgery.
    Chalk it up to rust, old age, whatever. But I have a feeling we’ll know for sure if Ben is still a quality pitcher in July, not now, not yet.

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