Mike Francesa is reporting on WFAN that the Mets have agreed to a contract with Detroit Tigers castoff Gary Sheffield. Its a good low risk, high reward move that could play a big part in the 2009 season for the Mets. Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated reported that two Mets scouts met with Sheffield in Tampa on Wednesday for a workout at a college field. They wanted to see what Sheffield could do in the outfield. He hasn’t played the outfield regularly since 2005 when he played 131 games in right field for the Yankees.
This move may spell the end of Marlon Anderson‘s tenure with the Mets. Anderson’s contract was a mistake. The Mets shouldn’t have given him a 2-year deal before the 2008 season. The Mets will have to eat the $1.15 million that they owe him for 2009.
Sheffield shores up the possibility that Daniel Murphy and Ryan Church can’t handle playing the corner outfield spots every day. It also relieves the Mets of their lefty heavy lineup that’s been a concern for Mets fans throughout the offseason.
The other teams that were reported to be interested in Shef were the Cincinnati Reds and the Philadelphia Philles. A point that I haven’t heard anyone address to this point is that signing Sheffield keeps him away from the Phillies. The Mets haven’t engaged in that type of activity much in recent years but its not a bad idea. The New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox have been doing this to each other for years. There’s no reason that the Mets shouldn’t try to keep useful players like Sheffield away from the Phillies.
Overall, I think its a good move that will pay dividends for the Mets. The key is to make sure that Sheffield gets enough at-bats in the outfield to keep him happy. If he’s not happy with his playing time, he can cause real problems for this team.