While taking my daily gander at ESPN.com today, I was reminded of something by the always eager to remind Tim Kurkjian. About one month before pitchers and catchers report for spring training, pitcher Ben Sheets is still homeless. Now of course I don’t mean homeless in a Will Smith/”Pursuit of Happyness” kind of way, but rather in a Mike Leach “please somebody hire me” kind of way. Jobless would probably be a better word.
Sheets is best known for two things. The first is being a an elite, four-time All-Star major league pitcher. The other thing that he is known for is his elbow, which by all accounts, appears to be made of Silly String (no offense to Silly String). Sheets filed for free agency in October 2008, and with the exception of a brief purgatory with the Rangers, has been teamless ever since. Teams are terrified of injury-prone pitchers, and Sheets is no different. Good pitchers show up and fade at such a rapid pace that the ones who maintain success over any extended period of time are remembered forever.
Sheets compares his situation to that of Chris Carpenter who made a successful return after having Tommy John surgery in 2007. One can’t fault Sheets for looking at Carpenter as that is the perfectly acceptable “glass half full” thing to do. However, general managers will probably not look at Carpenter as much as they will Prior, Wood, Brown, the list stretches to great lengths. Speaking of Prior and Wood, the Cubs seem to be the primary team interested in giving Sheets a chance. If that is the case, then one can only assume that his career will sink amongst bad fortune.
With Cliff Lee and Felix Hernandez already in their arsenal, Seattle could also be a very interesting possibility if they are interested.
Sheets remains one of the few remaining free agent dramas as we slowly begin to approach Florida and Arizona’s favorite time of the year. Will he go? Where will he go? How much will he go for? These are all open-ended questions for now.
Somebody please make something happen soon. Tim Kurkjian is worried sick.