There has been a few different post pertaining to the current pay roll situation with the Mariners. Overall it’s estimated there is approximately 10 million dollars left in the budget. There is a lot of emphasis on signing Ben Sheets (who I’ve been a huge proponent of this whole off season). I think its the best possible move. I have a problem with the some of the ideas going around.
It seems to be the popular notion that anything beyond a one year contract would be a bad deal. That’s the wrong additude to have towards a player with the upside of Sheets.
A player option is a bad idea. Basically it would give him the leverage that if he gets injured he could come back on his terms. If he does stay healthy and pitches well he gets to opt for free-agency. Instead I would propose a two year deal with around 11-14 million guaranteed and another 10 that is incentive based. Some people may see this as much more risk than reward.
Let’s think about this for a second. Griffin Cooper pointed out at SodoMojo a listing of the Seattle Mariners depth charts over the next few years. We don’t have a real quality pitchers behind Hernandez.
As Jeff Sullivan over at Lookout Landing pointed out we have money. What are the odds he doesn’t pitch more than 140 innings? Two years in a row? Even while pitching injured he has put up atleast 2 WAR every year he’s pitched.
Compare him to the other injury option Jarrod Washburn whom people have recently fixated upon. Who for the first time in four years managed to rack up 2.1 WAR. While, Washburn maybe cheaper. He doesn’t have near the upside that Sheets maintains. He also has no place on this team beyond this year (and even then I’m not sure someone like Vargas or French isn’t better.)
His shoulder problems as Jon Sheilds tweeted out is a concern just as much as his elbow. But his mechanics looked smooth and hit as high as 92 mph with his fastball while hovering around the 90s the rest of the workout.Jason Churchill wrote a good piece on the Sheets work out
I’m not worried about his health. He may not pitch a whole season, but we gave Bedard 7 million guaranteed despite knowing full well that he most likely wouldn’t give you a full season. Whats wrong with signing Sheets hoping and expecting the same out put. Oh only our fall back plan this time isn’t Jarrod Washburn. Its CLIFF LEE! We don’t have nearly as much to loose as we didn’t with Bedard. It was thought how well we performed was dictated how healthy Bedard was. Now, it turned out to be that we had an amazing defense that turned mediocre pitchers into Cy Young candidate. Sheets is just icing on the cake.
That’s something we should discuss also. Sheets isn’t going to give you more than 20 games a year. He is going to skip days in the rotation and may even see the disable list more than once. But, that’s okay we are getting 15-20 games of Ben Sheets with 12-15 games of Jason Vargas or Doug Fister is going to still give you more wins above replacement then 30 games of Jarrod Washburn, Jon Garland, or Vincentte Padilla (assuming he can still pitch after shooting himself in the leg).
If it takes a two year contract to get Ben Sheets. I’m okay with that. If it takes 7.5 m$ of guaranteed money for two years with another 5+ worth of incentives. I’m okay with it.
He is going to give you quality starts and if you expect him to give you 2 WAR then paying 3.35 million a win is a STEAL. The Mariners are at a place where they need ever last player to produce. You are replace a .5-1.5 win player (Vargas or Fister) with nearly 3 win (Sheets with Vargas/Fister) player.
Dave Cameron wrote an article a month or so ago (if you can find it please paste it in a comment below) about being at a point where as we get closer each win was going to cost us more than the league average. This off-season the going rate is around 3.7 million a win. Last year it was around 4 (not sure of the 2009 going rate). That last win is going to put us ever closer to the AL West title.
No one is against going after Ben Sheets. Most people like the idea. But they are cautious about giving him too much money. Too cautious. We are going into this season with every intention of taking the division. To compete we need the best product available and its going to take a risk.