Just a single home run away from the 500 milestone, the Detroit Tigers have released 21-year veteran and all-star, Gary Sheffield.
Always a topic of debate, Sheffield hit in the middle of the lineup through his two seasons with the Tigers. On most occasions, Sheffield was said to be hurt, either his shoulder or back was nearly always "in pain".
After hitting a measly .225 in 2008, with just 19 home runs from a power-only type of hitter, Detroit had had enough. His bat speed has only decreased since he peaked in the mid to late 1990s.
Sheffield was also, most likely, the Tigers worst fielder. He complained about always being the designated hitter, but when given the opportunity to shine in the field all he did was stumble and let baseball, after baseball trickle by. He was a simply lazy fielder in 2008, never hustling and never showing emotion.
In the 2006 postseason, Gary went 1-12, with an RBI and four strikeouts. That type of productivity is the main reason he was released from the Tigers.
With Sheffield long gone, the outfield dosen't take a hit anymore. Most likely the move will swap Carlos Guillen and his bad knees to designated hitter and put Marcus Thames into left field to have a good shot at hitting 30+ home runs.
So, all in all, Dave Dombrowski and his staff made a great move to release an over-payed, declining, and lazy player. Gary, you might be missed by few, but many will be happy to see you go.