Former Team: Milwaukee Brewers
Contract Terms: $10 Million / 1 Year
Date Signed: 1/26/2010
2010 Salary: $10 Million
Dominant pitchers don’t lose everything just because they need a year off. That’s the gamble the Oakland Athletics took when they inked Ben Sheets to a one-year deal this January.
Honestly, anybody who’s played MLB The Show on PS2 or PS3 knows that this is the first deal you make when you start a new franchise. You sign free-agent Ben Sheets.
You sign Ben Sheets and hope he regains his dominant, ace-like form. When he does, you can deal him for prospects or keep him at a discount and let him sign elsewhere for 2011.
Knowing Billy Beane, Ben Sheets is not long for Oakland. If he looks to achieve Type-A free-agent status, Sheets could make it through September without being dealt, but if he’s hovering on the border between Type-A and Type-B, Sheets will finish 2010 with a true contender.
According to Fangraphs, Sheets has averaged $10.2 million in sabermetric value during his nine-year career, including a 2009 in which Sheets pitched not a single inning.
If we exclude 2009, Sheets has been worth closer to $11.5 million per season he’s pitched. $10 million for one year seems like a pretty good gamble.
So, how has Sheets looked so far?
In three early starts and 17 innings, Sheets is 1-0 with a 2.65 ERA and an elevated 1.71 WHIP. In terms of value, Sheets has only produced $400,000 for the other Bay-area team.
Assuming he makes 30 starts for the 2010 Athletics, Sheets will only reach $4 million in sabermetric value and will represent a $6 million loss.
At the same time, if Sheets continues to pitch like he did in his last outing—one in which the former Brewer carved up the Baltimore Orioles through six shutout frames—he won’t leave the Athletics in the red.
Rather, Sheets will be personally restocking the Athletics’ farm system
That said, Sheets still has to prove himself over the long haul.
Worth the money so far?
A lukewarm NO.