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Phillies Release Jenkins ... to Land Sheffield?

If you read the reports coming out of Philadelphia -- by the Inquirer's Andy Martino and's Todd Zolecki -- the Phillies are not interested in Gary Sheffield. Yet that seems confusing, since Sheffield would, by all accounts, be exactly the kind of right-handed hitter the team is so desperately looking for.

Yesterday, the Phillies took a step in the direction of creating an opening for another right-handed bat, releasing the lefty hitting Geoff Jenkins. They ate $8 million to do so, an expensive pill to swallow for an organization that already did the same with new Orioles No. 3 starter Adam Eaton.

Think about it from the Phillies standpoint: Philadelphia needs a proven, right-handed bat preferably one that can hit for a lot more power than Miguel Cabrera? Does Sheffield fit that bill? You bet he does. The Phillies need a guy who won't cost a lot (they're already at a club record for payroll, passing the $130 million mark). Does Sheffield fir that bill? Now that he's made $14 million without swinging a bat, sure.

Spin this forward, and the only thing that would seem to make Sheffield unattractive to the Phillies would be if he wanted a starting job. Well, as Martino mentioned in his post linked above, Sheffield's agent, Rufus Williams (who has to be one of the only Rufuses in baseball), says his client is definitely open to a part-time job.

Assuming the Phillies are willing to go a little above the veteran minimum ($1 million? $1.5 million?) there's no reason why this shouldn't happen. So why isn't it going to? The only issue mentioned by's Jon Heyman in this column is Sheffield's penchant for being sullen and surly when things don't go his way (i.e., when he has to spend time on the bench). Considering the fact that his agent is already sounding out the possibility of Sheffield as bench player, it doesn't seem to me that he's going to create those problems this time around.

So, what do people think? Should Sheffield end up with the reigning world champs? Who else should make a play for the man with the league's most intimidating bat twitch?

By Cameron Smith  |  April 1, 2009; 2:10 PM ET
Categories:  Phillies , Tigers  
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Sheffield hits for more power than Miguel Cabrera? What?

Posted by: pondaz | April 1, 2009 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Hard to think they'd bring him in to split time with Ibanez considering what they are paying Raul. At this stage, Raul's probably a better hitter.

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | April 1, 2009 4:37 PM | Report abuse

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