Generally I’m not one to get too aggravated by Brewers off-seasons, especially this early, but I’m pretty frustrated with reports that came in last night—namely this tidbit by TH at the end of a Sabathia post.
And, on another note, Melvin said he has no plans at this time to make an offer to free agent right-hander Ben Sheets, who declined the club’s offer of salary arbitration. Teams can still negotiate with free agents who decline arbitration if they so choose.
“Maybe Ben feels slighted by it but we haven’t approached them at this point,” said Melvin.
I doubt Sheets feels very slighted, as he’ll have suitors, but I sure do. While the Brewers sit around waiting for CC Sabathia to (very likely) reject them, they are letting their other elite free agent pitcher slip away without any effort. Instead of pursuing a comparable pitcher for a much shorter contract and less money per year, they’re focusing on an incredibly risky contract. Sheets is pretty much as good as Sabathia, would have been more likely to sign in Milwaukee and would be considerably less risky.
I understand pursuing Sabathia, but I don’t understand ignoring Sheets. Here’s my question: What’s wrong with making offers to both of them? I’m not suggesting actually signing both, as that would not be affordable. But make an offer to both, and if one signs, just withdraw the offer to the other!
Instead, the writing is on the wall. In all likelihood, Sabathia will eventually decide to sign somewhere else. By that time, Sheets will have already signed with the Yankees, Rangers or whomever. The Brewers will be left out in the cold and will either stand put with mediocre starting pitching or overpay for Jeff Suppan 2.0 (i.e. Jon Garland) or be forced to trade away talent to acquire pitching.
I’ve done this already, but here’s a quick look at their career numbers
Sheets: 116 ERA+, 1.20 WHIP, 7.6 k/9, 3.85 k/bb
Sabathia: 121 ERA+, 1.24 WHIP, 7.56 k/9, 2.66 k/bb
Sabathia just had an insane half-season that will never be duplicated, and it’s skewing people’s judgment on their true talents. On a whole, they’re extremely similar and it’s blowing my mind the Brewers would rather give a five or six-year deal to one before they’d even consider a two or three-year deal to the other. It really doesn’t make sense, which is once again why I suspect Mark Attanasio is the driving force behind this.
Again, I really don’t mean to be Debbie Downer, but the way this seems to be unfolding is very troubling to me. It doesn’t help that the Cubs not only think they can acquire Jake Peavy for scraps, but can somehow shed Jason Marquis’ contract in the process! How is this possible? If this trade was proposed to a computer in a video game, the interest gage would be dark red. UGH.
Someone please offer words of encouragement to me if you have any. I was knocked out of the playoffs in fantasy football by four points because Jeff Garcia had his highest point total of the year, so this has been a rough 14 hours or so.