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Another Sheets Comparison: Freddy Garcia

Yesterday, Dave wrote about Ben Sheets' impending elbow surgery and how he may be the unlucky subject of an economic slowdown. As he pointed out, Sheets probably would have earned a significant contract, elbow injury or no, in past years.

Not this year.

Instead, Sheets is heading to elbow surgery, and he won't end up with a contract unless/until he makes a recovery. It's a stark contrast to the Jon Lieber contract Dave pointed out, but it's not without precedent.

Last year, Freddy Garcia waited until August to sign on with Detroit, more than a year after he'd undergone elbow surgery himself. While Garcia shopped himself to teams throughout 2008 Spring Training -- the Mets, Red Sox and a handful of other teams took a look -- no one was willing to commit guaranteed money on him in hopes of an early season return.

This winter was different for Garcia, with the onetime All-Star earning a minor league contract with the Mets that will pay him $1.5 million if he makes the 40-man roster, plus another $6.5 million attainable through bonuses.

Whether he wants to admit it or not, that's probably the route ahead for Sheets, too. At best, he can hope for an August return, and maybe a team looking for a lift in the playoff stretch that's short on pitching (isn't everyone in the playoff races short on pitching down the stretch?) will take a chance on him. If that goes well, he can probably land an incentive-rich contract in 2010 and, potentially, a straight contract after that (or, potentially, another deal full of incentives if the economy won't bear bigger deals).

Is it optimal? Certainly not. But neither is this economy, and everyone's having to deal with that, too. Now, if only Sheets could hit the reset button and take that arbitration deal ...

By Cameron Smith  |  February 6, 2009; 7:09 AM ET
Categories:  Brewers , Rangers  
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Next: Why the Orioles May Be Poised For a Breakthrough


How well do pitchers do after torn flexor tendon surgery? Tommy John usually takes a year to 18 months, but that is a ligament. Are they really saying August?

If yes, I could see the Red Sox, in particular, offering him a contract through at least 2010 at that time. No FA compensation, they've shown a willingness to pay for rehabbing guys, and the Smoltz /Penny contracts I think are 1 year deals. He'd be their next one in that line.

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | February 6, 2009 9:16 AM | Report abuse

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