David Murphy tweets that the Philadelphia Phillies have contacted the agents of free agent starting pitchers Ben Sheets and Chien-Ming Wang, though he says that there aren't any indications that something will happen on either front.
With Jamie Moyer's status for the start of the regular season being an unknown, Sheets may become an intriguing option as a fifth starter for the Phillies. Opting for surgery to repair a torn flexor tendon in his elbow last February, Sheets decided against signing with a team last year.
Sheets, 31, has build an impressive résumé in his eight year career with the Milwaukee Brewers. He has a career record of 86-83 with a 3.72 ERA, making four All-Star teams and finishing eighth in the 2004 N.L. Cy Young award voting.
The Baton Rouge, Louisiana native went 13-9 with a 3.09 ERA in his last season with the Brewers in 2008. He started 31 games, struckout 158 hitters while walking 46 batters in 198.1 innings. He had five complete games, three of which were shutouts.
In his last start with Milwaukee, Sheets left after two innings because of tightness in throwing forearm, which forced the Brewers to shut him down for the rest of the season.
Sheets had three straight seasons with 200 innings or more before taking a step back in his career. Between 2005 and 2007, Sheets made five trips to the disabled list with various arm injuries and an inner ear infection that led to vertigo.
Before choosing surgery last off-season, Sheets was believed to be closing in on an incentive laden contract with the Texas Rangers. At the end of the day, he decided that getting his elbow repaired was the best step for his career.
According to reports, Sheets and his agent Casey Close is asking for $12 million, a similar figure he made in his last year with the Brew Crew. It's believed that Close is playing hardball with teams, trying to get his client the best deal he can.
The Phillies are looking to add another starting pitcher to solidify the back end of the rotation, and they're looking for someone at a reasonable price. With Sheets current asking price, you can likely count the Phils out of his sweepstakes.
ESPN.com proposed the idea that Sheets could be a fit with the Phillies if they can find payroll relief. They suggested trading Joe Blanton could free up enough cash to sign Sheets, and a rotation with Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels, and Sheets can compete with any other in the game.
The question is: Do you trade Blanton, who is a known commodity, to clear up payroll space to sign Sheets, a pitcher with dominant stuff but has a scary injury history? Is it worth the risk to add a significant upgrade in Sheets, if healthy?
Well, is it?
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