Ben Sheets, Every Parent's Nightmare?

What a holding pattern.

After the desperate Braves shook up the regime by paying over the odds for Derek Lowe and calling Omar's bonehead bluff to keep the sales figures low, the quiet on the free agent starting pitcher front has been deafening.

Not that the Mets don't desperately need a starting pitcher to complete the rotation, (Omar just spent a month's worth of vocal chords explaining to the world why he has to take care of the "pitching situation" first), as though its some dirty little secret that can't be spoken about openly, i.e. that other than Omar, no one appears much interested in Oliver Perez or the rest of the lot at the minute.

But I can't help but wondering we've somehow missed the boat and we're kicking around other peoples' garbage here, shopping in some pathetic third world trinket market for something a forgotten relative will find charming in an enigmatic sort of way a few months down the road.

Hell, even Johan has chimed in with a sort of public declaration on the benefits of hermano Olly:

"He's a guy, a pitcher I think has learned a lot from last year," the Mets' ace said. "I had a great time with him and hopefully Omar will be able to keep him. He matured.

Sometimes he lets his emotions take over, so he could be more mature this year. Hopefully, Omar and his agent will find a way to keep him in New York.
"He's not just a great guy, but a good pitcher, too. He's going to be a good one."

(You reckon he's now on the Boras payroll as well or is he just trying to make the Mets pay for not letting him pitch in the World Baseball Classic?)

I mean, we've already got our designated, kicked-dog, fifth man for the rotation in Nat reject (I just love the ominous sound of that, "Nat-reject", as though it should be the name of some post-punk band based out of DC) in the form of Tim Redding so we don't really fancy a cookie cutter squadron of mishaps and mediocrity, like the addition of Randy Wolf or Jon Garland or taking a stroll with Fat Freddy Garcia...we aren't working with the bloody Cincinnati Reds payroll, are we?

No we aren't. We've got Citibank's $400 million ransom to give our heroic new park a sinking-corporate-ship sort of name and to give our new uniforms a hideous and understated corporate patch for.

So let's bloody well spend it, innit?

Problem is, there's no one good to spend it on.

The bigger problem is there are crackheads like Wallace Matthews who think the Mets should spend some of that dosh on Andy Pettitte:

"Unlike Perez, you absolutely know what you're getting: 30 to 35 starts a year, 200-plus innings, a minimum 14 wins. If you make it to October, you have a starter guaranteed not to rattle under pressure, and almost always guaranteed to put you in a position to win."

Win what, the Steroid Zombie Olympic Baseball Championship? No thanks, Wally. We don't need no stinkin' ex-Yankee heroes and we damned sure don't need no stinkin' ex-Yankee hero steroid abusing muppet, even if he did make alot of us damned happy by naming and shaming Roger Clemens as the steroid injecting monkey lying hypocrite that he is.

Now previously herein I've dismissed the talk of signing Ben Sheets as baffoonery.

But all this silence and lack of inking is making me jumpy, impatient. Enough to consider the case of Mr Sheets a little further...

In some ways, he's the perfect foil for the Mets and their September collapses. A built-in excuse. Look at last season: dominated enough to be named the starting pitcher for the National League in the All Star Game and then, when the money was all out on the table, where was Mr Sheets? He threw only 4 1/3 regular-season innings after Sept. 11, and he was unable to pitch in Milwaukee's National League Division Series loss to Philadelphia.

So there you go. When the Mets blow a 7 game lead in the NL East in September 2009, they could, if they play their cards right, blame the "Ben Sheets injury" for all their problems as in; "we'd have sealed the NL East if only Ben Sheets hadn't torn his flexor once and for all..."

What can be said about Ben Sheets that the fact no one is willing to give him a deal of two years or more doesn't say already? Not even the Diamondbacks know what to make of Mr Sheets.

I'm going to say this again, I'm more than a little irritated that Omar over-played his hand in this free agents-on-the-cheap tune he's been banging out since the winter. Ok, you were in the cat bird seat on closers when you signed K-Rod for peanuts compared to his initial asking price but that doesn't mean every free agent you want is going to walk into negotiations with his tail between his legs ready to bow down to a miser's compensation the Wilpon Idiot Collective is willing to pay, does it? Clearly not. Losing out on Lowe and getting stuck with stiffs like Perez, Wolf and Sheets is evidence enough.

Be that as it may, we still don't know what kind of place Citi Park will be to pitch in so it's difficult to say - do we want Sheets' or Perez's or Wolf's fly-ball tendancies in what is one the one hand expected to be a hitter's park or do we not care who is pitching because it will be a pitcher's park.

How can we not know this yet? Will someone go out there and hit a few fly balls for crissakes, check it out a little, like and see which way the wind is blowing?

One thing positive that can be said about Ben Sheets is that the Ben Sheets Sucks Forum is pretty much devoid of heated commentary.

Let's face it, the debate is excruciatingly dull. The unpredictable Perez, the semi-snooze of Wolf, the fragility of Ben Sheets, etc. In theory, the debate is over the 4th starter. The 4th starter.

What difference does it make? Big Pelf was named as the 5th starter in the Spring of last season. By July he was named National League Player of the Week. Pedro, the number two starter going into last season fell off the radar and never regained his form.

Do we really think the rotation will be set when we've signed one or two mediocre arms? Do we really think there will be no thicker plot developments once the season commences?

Just sign somebody already, Omar. Before there's no one left to sign!


sanchez said...

Omar really screwed up by letting the Braves sign Lowe. Even if we had to eat the final year of the contract, he's a proven clutch pitcher and for a team that can't handle pressure, that's a valuable commodity. Sad, really - Omar will give that loser cripple whose career is essentially over, Castillo a nice fat deal (maybe because he's an hermano)and yet when it's time to ante up for the non-Latino, there's no fat, excessive long term contract. Do you think that's merely coincidence? Hey Omar, how about a two year deal for Pedro, El Duque and Alou just for consistency's sake!

Jaap said...

why sanchez, that's an awfully derisory tone on such a splendid day of inaugurations, innit?
are you implying Omar will only give long term contracts to washed out Latinos? Just wait til he inks Brian Schneider to a nice fat four year deal! Then you'll eat those words...
but I agree, big error in strategy from the Omar camp on Lowe. But that's been banged on about ad naseum. Where is Steve Trachsel when you really need him?

jdon said...

I don't want Perez back. several times last year I walked toward my TV set fully intending to take him out after watching his antics. He had about 10 straight starts where he showed maturity. Unfortunately, he shelved his maturity for the month of
September and went back to his cowboy ways. I agree with Sanchez about Omar, by the way. Why can't Omar be biased? Why is it always someone else who is? suposedly preferred Ollie to Lowe/ How can a serious GM in win-now mode ever PREFER an Ollie?
We need someone who can throw strikes and strikeouts. Big Ben do not walk nobody. I say sign Sheets and pray.

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jdon said...

jaap-- do you need an agent?

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the link to Talk-Sports!

Anonymous said...

We returned the link-love by linking back to you on all the Ben Sheet pages. Wondering how I can get a link in your sidebar (randy@kbcafe.com).

Jaap said...

jdon, yes, I need an agent. All this autograph-signing is giving me hand cramps and will likely lead to the early onset of carpal tunnel syndrome or some sort of Ringo Starr disease. So your first task as agent is to buy one of those fancy autograph machines and tell them blue M&Ms ONLY. And tap, not bottled water. Maybe a few feline groupies, kittens purring before they're mashed into fritters.

Jaap said...

cheers for the link love, Mr or Missus Anonymous.

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