Results tagged ‘ Gary Sheffield ’
This is the gift that Tigers vice president/baseball legal counsel John
Westhoff presented to Gary Sheffield last week to honor his 500th
career home run. The team had prepared it when Sheffield was still with
the Tigers and ended last season with 499, but Sheff’s release
obviously changed those plans. Westhoff traveled to New York to make the presentation to Sheffield at Citi Field.
So here’s an interesting question to consider in the wake of Gary Sheffield’s release: What if Sheff ends up signing with a National League team (the Phillies, perhaps) and playing the outfield? Will that make a difference in what Tigers fans think? Will that put Tuesday’s decision in a different light?
Because at this point, there’s clearly a very big difference of opinion as to whether Sheff can still play in the field. The Tigers felt like he was a DH only, and told him so when they said they made the decision to release him based on versatility.
“When I heard that word, versatility, I’m like, ‘I’m probably the most athletic guy on the team,’” Sheffield said. “But at the same time, that’s their opinion and I have to respect that.”
Manager Jim Leyland conditioned his answer when asked if there’s a difference of opinion.
“I don’t question it,” Leyland said. “I didn’t question it ever. If you go back to what I said last year, I was worried about Sheffield getting hurt if he played the outfield.”
If you remember back to when Sheffield was injured playing the outfield, though, it was on a relatively freak play, a collision with second baseman Placido Polanco. And if it’s a shoulder injury that would be the worry, it would seem more likely to come on a swing than on a throw. The question might more realistically be whether there was a fear of Sheffield breaking down physically if he played the outfield regularly.
More realistically, given the roster situation, the Tigers could keep Sheffield or Marcus Thames, but not both. Given the economy and the thinking of teams around the league right now, neither was a strong trade candidate, though the Tigers tried. And if the Tigers were going to keep Sheffield over Thames, they had better be sure they could get a good season’s worth of production out of him. Because it wasn’t just an Opening Day decision, but a longer-term decision. If Sheffield got hurt in late April, there would be no Thames to which to turn, unlike years past.
And at this point in their careers, the Tigers made a decision that they had a better chance at getting more out of Thames, not just in the field but very possibly at the plate.
“He’s got the best home-run ratio in baseball, or one of them, the last few years,” Jim Leyland said.
Yes, those Thames prognostications we all were building pretty much ended up off. That’s how much financial considerations, and an owner’s willingness to look past them, can make a difference.
“Mr. Ilitch has always listened to our opinions on what gives us the best chance to win,” Leyland said.
That said, Leyland added, “I don’t make the decision to cut contracts. I manage the team.”
And the prevailing opinion among club officials was that Thames was their guy. It does not mean they concluded that Sheff was done.
“He will get it,” Leyland said of Sheffield’s 500th home run. “And more.”
Sheff certainly believes that he will.
“I’ve got a lot left. I know that,” he said. “If one person doesn’t think you can play in the field, that’s their opinion. I know I can. Nobody understands my body better than me. Unfortunately, I got hurt here and never been able to show what I can really do. But I fought real hard to get back to this point. I just feel like I’ve got more to give.”
That includes the outfield. And if you read the quotes, you can detect a twinge of regret that Sheffield accepted a DH role a few years back when the trade was made.
“I can go out there on an everyday basis and play in the outfield,” he said. “That’s what I yearn for. I want to be in the outfield. At the same time, it kind of puts you in a box when you accept the DH role, because people start labeling you as that’s all you can do. And that’s not the case. I accepted this role because this was pretty much the only opportunity that I had at the time of leaving New York and going to a place where I was comfortable. So I had to take the DH role. I could’ve not come to Detroit and waited on another situaiton and played the outfield. But I chose to come around people that I know.”
He’s suffering nausea and vomiting, according to the Tigers. He batted in the fifth and left after that.
UPDATE @ 4:15pm: Apparently Sheff has a stomach virus that has been going around the Tigers clubhouse. Dontrelle supposedly has it, too, and others have gone through it. Not sure if it’ll affect Dontrelle’s status for his scheduled outing Sunday. Leyland expects he’ll get through it.
Manager Jim Leyland is giving Gary Sheffield a break for the opener after taking a pitch off of his elbow Tuesday in live batting practice. Sheffield said his elbow swelled up a bit but wasn’t too bad. We’ll probably see him make his Spring Training debut on Friday, when the Tigers face the Blue Jays in Dunedin. For now, Marcus Thames is the DH in Sheff’s place.
Here’s the lineup for the opener:
- Granderson, CF
- Polanco, 2B
- Ordonez, RF
- Cabrera, 1B
- Guillen, LF
- Thames, DH
- Laird, C
- Inge, 3B
- Everett, SS
Pitching: Verlander, Miner, Seay, Lyon, Bonine, Ni, Bloom
Near the end of last season, Gary Sheffield was raving about the chance to go through an offseason workout regimen without having to come off surgery for the first time in several years. Now it appears he’ll get to go through a Spring Training without having to worry about a deposition or testimony. But it comes at a cost: About $550,000.
The long-running lawsuit between Boras and Sheff was finally ruled upon Friday, and Boras won, albeit a much smaller victory than he would’ve liked. According to the Associated Press story, arbitrator Joshua Javits ruled that Boras was due his five percent commission only on the $11 million option Boras negotiated out of his old contract, allowing him to hit free agency a year early after the 2003 season and sign with the Yankees. Boras, whom Sheffield fired, wanted his commission on the entire Yankees contract, which Sheffield negotiated on his own with owner George Steinbrenner.
This is the long-running suit that had Sheffield missing days for the last five springs to go over to Tampa and testify, and it was the reason for Sheffield ripping Boras every spring. From the story this past spring:
“It’s probably personal with him,” Sheffield said of Boras. “But when
it’s done, it’s going to be personal to me. I’m going to warn
everybody. Trust me, it’s going to be the ugliest thing you’ve ever
seen. There are people you don’t want to mess with, and I can guarantee
you I’m one of them.”
Asked about his time dealing with Boras, Sheffield said, “Total hell. I
wish I would’ve never introduced myself to him. Bad person. Bad
No idea if Sheffield plans to go off on Boras now that the suit is over.
He will not appeal, so his suspension will start tonight. No other Tigers were suspended or fined. Three Indians were supposedly disciplined in some sort, according to Tigers president/GM Dave Dombrowski.
UPDATE @ 5pm: Fausto Carmona received six games, while Victor Martinez and Asdrubal Cabrera received three each. Cabrera’s suspension will begin Thursday.
I was up late enough trying to sort out the blow-by-blow account from Sheffield-Carmona that I decided to sleep rather than blog. Besides, pretty much all the relevant quotes and reactions made it into the story. But as Saturday approaches, here’s what we have to look forward to:
It’ll be interesting to see how quickly Bob Watson and the MLB personnel react on this one. Normally, you don’t hear much in the way of discipline handed down on weekends, but they could conceivably move on it now rather than Monday with two more games left to be played this series.
Whenever the discipline is handed down, it leaves Sheffield with what could be an interesting question. He’s close enough to the 500-homer milestone to still get it this year with a good final week (or his first-ever three-homer game, for that matter), but any suspension would likely rule that out until 2009. If he appeals a suspension, he could feasibly hold it off into next season and try to go for 500 now. The downside, of course, is that he’d have to miss time at the start of next season, when the standings reset and the games are a little more important to get off a good start (and haven’t we discovered how important that is).
If you think back to last year, when Sheffield was suspended for allegedly tossing his bat in umpire Greg Gibson’s direction, Sheffield’s comments didn’t help. And then you wonder how his postgame remarks Friday will play into any decisions coming. When last year’s suspensions eventually came down, Jim Leyland was the one who convinced Sheffield to tone down his rhetoric for a little while. With Leyland under suspension Friday, he wasn’t able to say anything to Sheff in the aftermath of the dust-up.
It’s interesting to see how certain players react the first time you see them in a fracas, especially guys you expect could more than hold their own. Miguel Cabrera did a lot of peacemaking from how it looked, including eventually getting Victor Martinez headed towards his own dugout.
Speaking of which, was it just me, or did Andy Marte almost grab Dusty Ryan — thinking a guy Ryan’s size could do some damage — and then let him go when he realized Ryan wasn’t doing anything?
I’m still not sure why Polanco was ejected. Lloyd McClendon was told by the umpiring crew that Polanco was being aggressive, and Brandon Inge was told that someone on the crew saw Polanco throw a punch. I didn’t see it. The one move that could be construed as aggressive was that Polanco went towards Victor Martinez when Martinez started yelling at Sheffield from across the infield. It was to keep Martinez from going back into the fray, by all accounts, but in the heat of the moment, it’s easy to see how that could be misconstrued. Or else I’m missing something that went on away from the TV cameras.
Jim Leyland hadn’t had a chance to check with Gary Sheffield on his shoulder when he made out the lineup Thursday morning, but with a day game after a long night game and a trip to Minnesota following, the skipper decided a day off was in order regardless. It also allows him to give Magglio a day at DH.
Fernando Rodney is available to work the ninth again for a third straight day if needed.
On a side note, Leyland noted that Dusty Ryan will probably get his first Major League start at catcher Sunday at Minnesota. Word is, and confirmed, that Ryan hit the Charlie Gehringer statue beyond the outfield on a batting practice swing Tuesday.
Not as exciting as the other news going on downtown, but hey, that’s not my beat. That said, there were more than a few players watching what was going on with Detroit’s mayor this morning on television.
- Granderson, CF
- Polanco, 2B
- Ordonez, DH
- Cabrera, 1B
- Joyce, RF
- Renteria, SS
- Thames, LF
- Hessman, 3B
- Inge, C
- Gary Matthews Jr., RF
- Robb Quinlan, 3B
- Mark Teixeira, 1B
- Vladimir Guerrero, DH
- Torii Hunter, CF
- Juan Rivera, LF
- Brandon Wood, SS
- Jeff Mathis, C
- Sean Rodriguez, 2B
As many have so aptly described in the comments section of a previous post, placing a player on waivers at this time of year (say, Gary Sheffield, according to an ESPN.com report) is a procedural move that teams do with several players. It allows teams to see if there’s any interest in players, and to see whether a trade is feasible. It does NOT mean that a player is about to get claimed on waivers, though they have 48 hours to do so once a player goes on there. In Sheffield’s case, a claim is not going to happen, not with Sheffield under contract for $14 million next year. The truer test would be if any team would want to trade for Sheffield, a .219 hitter whose average has barely budged since coming off the disabled list. That’s also unlikely, given that — again — he’s under contract for next year.
Here’s a selection of quotes from Tigers manager Jim Leyland on the Boston Globe article in which Gary Sheffield talked about his role as a platoon (otherwise known as my way of getting use out of quotes I transcribed but couldn’t fit into the article):
Leyland on Sheffield’s games played: “Like I said, I’m shocked, because this caught me totally off-guard. Before his [oblique] injury when we put him on the DL, he played 39 out of 51 games and about seven other games he couldn’t go to the post because his shoulder was clicking. So that would’ve been about  out of 51 games he would’ve been in. Post-DL, he’s played 36 out of 43 games, which means he hasn’t played seven, which means that you have a couple long games, night games, day games or something and you protect him a little bit. Well, that to me is the farthest thing from a platoon as I’ve ever heard of in my life, so I’m totally flabbergasted by it.”
Leyland on leadership: “Nobody’s a voice leader. You lead by example, by playing the game right. That’s how you lead. And I’m not talking about Gary Sheffield, I’m talking about anybody. That’s how you lead. You don’t lead by yelling. You lead by example. You lead by playing hard and showing other people how you play the game. That’s how you lead, so I’m befuddled by this article. I don’t understand what this article means at all. I have no clue how this article came about. I don’t know. I talked to the guy today who wrote the article. I told him I understand that this is stuff that Gary told you, but I want you to know that a lot of this stuff isn’t accurate. Gary Sheffield’s not a platoon player, is he?”
Leyland on the supposed platoon role: “I’ve never considered Gary Sheffield a platoon player in my life. He’s never been a platoon player since he’s been here, and he was made aware of the fact that when he accepted the trade here, that he was going to be the DH, period. So I don’t understand why that, all of a sudden, is a big point. That was decided before the trade was ever made. What’s the point? He’s not going to be the outfielder here. He’s going to be the DH, which is what he was told when he accepted the trade. I tried the outfield thing with him. I think I tried to respond in any way I could to try to get him going, obviously, because we need him. And I’m not mad at him. I’m just saying I’m totally surprised by all this.
“I’m still confused by the article because it talks about a platoon doesn’t sit well. Who is talking about a platoon? Gary Sheffield’s never platooned here as long as he’s been here. Platoon is when you have a left-handed hitter and a right-handed hitter. One plays against right-handed pitching and one plays against left-handed pitching. That is a platoon. Let me make that perfectly clear.”
Leyland on Sheffield’s outspokenness: “I’ve always been an admirer of Gary’s because he speaks what he feels, and I think he’s an admirer of me because I speak what I feel. And that’s the way I feel about it. I’m reading this article and it’s blindsided me, totally blindsided me. I don’t really know where it’s coming from or why the article was ever done. Based on what? You feel like a caged Tiger? What are you talking about? This is a guy who’s on his way to the Hall of Fame. Nobody’s been in his corner any more than me.”
Leyland on talking with Sheff: “I’ve never had a conversation where Gary Sheffield told me he’s unhappy in his role. I talk with all my players from time to time. I check with my players every day to see if they’re all right. I check with Gary every day and say, ‘You all right?’ I don’t have a long conversation with any of them, but, ‘Are you all right?’ ‘Yeah, I’m fine.’ That’s why this article blindsided me.”
Leyland on Sheff in the outfield: “I’ve got medical people telling me it’s suicidal to play him in the outfield right now, basically, because he’ll probably get hurt again. He might have to dive for a ball. It’s hard for him to throw. He’s throwing a little better than he was, but I just don’t get the drift of this.”
Sheffield on the article: “If you ever looked at the whole article, it was nothing that I was ticked off about. It was just these are the facts, and that’s just the way it is. There’s nothing I can do about it. I just have to accept it, that that’s the way they’re going to do it, and roll with it. I haven’t said anything all year, and I’m not going to start now. If they’re going to take that as some negative thing, go right ahead. I really don’t care anyways.”
Sheffield on Leyland’s reaction: “Ain’t nothing to try to blindside about. It’s a fact. I come in. Some days I don’t play, some days I play. That’s platooning to me. He might think it’s different. It’s not a big deal. It’s just a matter of that’s the way I see it.”
Sheffield on how his shoulder feels: “Feels great. I’m capable of playing outfield. If I feel good, I have a right to say I feel good. If I don’t, I have a right to say I don’t. Whoever takes offense to it, that’s their problem.”
All totaled, courtesy of associate reporter Scott McNeish, Leyland used the term “blindsided” six times. Four times, he said he was “caught off-guard.” He said he was “flabbergasted” three times, “shocked” and “befuddled” twice each, and one time each for “surprised” and “confused.” Sprinkled in with many of those terms was the term “totally,” as in “totally caught off-guard” or “totally blindsided.” The total use for “totally” was 10 times.