Posted by JD on June 27, 2009
Allow this post to stand as my personal apology to Gary Sheffield. I made my feelings clear at the start of the season. While acknowledging his diminished production, I chose to focus more on his “intangibles”. I could not have been more wrong on either count.
Gary Sheffield has been a revelation. More than that, he’s been a pillar. He leads the team with (a paltry) nine home runs*. By all accounts, he’s been a remarkable teammate. He listens to Jerry Manuel, plays whenever and wherever asked, and hasn’t complained (in public) about it once. Right field at the Citi is a tricky place to play; Gary handles it as well as anyone I’ve seen. His play in the field inspires confidence because no matter how slowly he moves, he takes the most efficient route and makes the correct throw.
*Pozterisk: Allow me to clarify. “Paltry” refers to the fact that nine home runs lead a team that has played 72 games. Sheffield’s home runs have been anything but paltry. Last night’s blast broke up the shut-out, no-hitter, and perfect game simultaneously. He’s had several big home runs, some of which have been truly titanic.
In short, I could not have been more wrong about Gary Sheffield. I’m glad I was wrong, I’m so glad he’s on the team, and I don’t want to think about where the Mets would be without him.
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Posted by JD on April 1, 2009
The Detroit Tigers released veteran outfielder Gary Sheffield today. Three quick thoughts: 1). It’s unheard of to release a player sitting on 499 homeruns, 2). That speaks volumes about his impact on the clubhouse, and 3). I hope he doesn’t sign with the Mets.
Although the Mets could use a power right-handed bat for their bench, Sheffield just isn’t a good fit. From a production standpoint, his OPS dropped to .726 last season, his lowest mark since 1989 and his lowest ever in a season in which he received at least 400 at bats. Yes, he hit 19 home runs playing in spacious Comerica Park. But he was primarily a DH, and having seen Citi Field’s right field I have no confidence that he could be even a competent right fielder.
However, it’s his clubhouse reputation that has me concerned, even though I typically tend to put less weight on this aspect than others. I’ll tolerate a bad attitude as like as long as a player can produce. However, Sheffield has a long resume of attitude issues with each of the teams that have previously employed him. His reputation among players is said to be better, but adding such a combustible personality to this locker room is asking for trouble.
And don’t forget that he’s Doc Gooden’s nephew. This in and of itself would be no issue, however, Sheffield has gone on record in the past with his displeasure with the organization and ownership regarding their treatment of Doc. Is he right? Who knows. But I do know that he’d have to hit 40 homers for the Wilpons to willingly bring him in, and Omar’s too smart to risk that.
Which is just fine with me. I just don’t want to see Gary Sheffield on the 2009 New York Mets.
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