Friday, November 10, 2006
The Detroit Tigers acquired disgruntled outfielder Gary Sheffield from the Yankees today for three minor league pitching prospects. This was a move bound to occur after New York exercised Sheffield's $13 million option for the upcoming season. They did this to prevent him from becoming a free agent, but more importantly from signing with the hated Red Sox's.
This move made by general manager Dave Dombrowski so early into the off season will force many people to scratch their heads and think, why trade for a player in the latter portion of their career who is coming off of wrist surgery and only played in 39 games last season. The answer is that Sheffield will be reunited with manager Jim Leyland who he won a World Series ring with in 1997 for the Marlins and he will be able to provide a patient bat in the middle of the Tigers order. Still, I wonder why you give away three young pitching prospects when you can sign a Frank Thomas or someone of his calaber.
Throughout last years magical season Detroit was lead by their young pitching who all came up through the Tigers system either as a draft pick or via a trade. It seems as if the roles were reversed this time as the Tigers acquired a veteran player and the Yankees picked up good minor league prospects. Finally, Brian Cashman has relaized how porous of a farm system he has and if his team is going to get out of the first round they need to start with good young talent.
After failing to accomplish his goal of winning a second ring during his three year stint in the Bronx the 37 year old former all star will try his luck in the motor city. He was very fortunate to be traded to the American League champions and a team who if not for their defensive blunders could have won it all last season. Gary will be playing DH for now on and this will enable him to stay healthy, pro long his career and be better equiped to help his new team. Sheffield called this situation a "blessing" and said " I'm more than happy to be reunited with guys that I'm familar with". He signed a two year extension with the Tigers through 2009, but terms were not disclosed.
Hopefully, the Tigers receive the Gary Sheffield who averaged 35 home runs and 122 runs batted in for the Yankees during his two healthy seasons and not the player who was constantly plagued by injuries last year. If this happens and Detroit's pitching continues to perform well we could see the Tigers return to the World Series and this time win the whole thing.
Posted by David Kaye at 6:05 PM