Mets, Sheffield Close to Deal?
That's the story, accoding to the New York Post's Joel Sherman. The writer claims Sheffield would sign for a meager $400,000, and wouldn't start the season in the starting lineup, but might work his way there very, very quickly.
It's a move that makes a heck of a lot of sense, assuming that Sheffield isn't a significant clubhouse distraction. The Mets were currently slated to leave spring training with rookie Daniel Murphy in left field and Ryan Church in right. Neither can hit with the power of Sheffield, and there are significant reasons to doubt that Church will ever be the player he was before his mid-season concussion last year (or that he'll ever hit left-handers with success). Murphy has significant upside, and will probably get a long look in the starting lineup. But if he scuffles, Sheffield would provide an additional buffer there as well.
The other outfielder who would be displaced is Fernando Tatis, a former Rangers re-tread who had a breakthrough comeback season in 2007 to earn his 2008 deal with the Mets. But New York reportedly feels Tatis could earn significant time playing as a back-up first baseman, which means they could add Sheffield simply by sending youngster Nick Evans back down to the minors for the season.
The Phillies are reportedly still lobbying Sheffield to sign with them, but momentum and logic seem to be firmly on the side of New York in this case. Sheffield can use a better chance for playing time with the Mets as a platform to earn a new contract in the offseason somewhere, and that in itself -- as well as yet another way to stick his success to the crosstown Yankees (Sheffield has never been the kind of player to get beyond vengeance as motivation) -- are evidently tantalizing possibilities for the slugger.
What do people think? Would Sheffield be a good fit with the Mets? Could his personality (read: potential for overreaction and stirring up trouble if he isn't in the starting lineup) cause more problems than he's worth? And should the Phillies keep pulling out all the stops to land him?
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