Come to Think of it: Ben Sheets Latest Name on Cubs Rumor Mill

Bob Warja@@bobwarjaSenior Writer IJanuary 4, 2010

Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports has a new article in which he tries to match up the remaining 10 free agents with the clubs most likely to sign them. Rosenthal has the Cubs nabbing free agent Ben Sheets.

Sheets would be an interesting name if his contract demands aren't too pricey. A one year contract for a low base with incentives would not only make sense, it just might fit into Jim Hendry's budget.

Of Marlon Byrd's $15 million deal, $3 million will count toward this season. That should just about equal this year's return from the cash received as apart of the Milton Bradley trade.

The Cubs still have $1.5 million owed to former players, with $1 million owed to Aaron Miles and $500,000 owed to Luis Vizcaino.

Including normal raises, the questionable re-signing of John Grabow, and salary arbitration, it's uncertain if Hendry has anything left to spend. But if he does, a low risk, high upside proposition like Sheets would be worth a gamble.

That is, assuming he is healthy.

Sheets missed the entire season last year after elbow surgery. But hey, if clubs knew he was healthy, the ante would be much higher for Sheets and the Cubs would almost certainly be out of the running.

Sheets has long been a question mark in terms of physical health, though he's generally been very good when able to take the mound.

In 2008, Sheets won 13 games with an ERA of 3.09 and only 47 walks versus 158 strikeouts.

Control has always been a strength of Sheets, when healthy. But the one thing he can't control, his health, is the one thing keeping him from a big payday.

But his loss could be the Cubs gain.


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