Former Brewers right-hander Ben Sheets worked out for a group of 15 scouts on Tuesday in Monroe, Louisiana as he looks to come back after taking the 2009 season off after surgery on the flexor tendon in his right elbow.
Sheets, who had the surgery last February, went 86-83 with a 3.72 ERA in his first eight seasons in the Major Leagues, notching double-digit wins seven times and finishing with an ERA under 4.00 in each of his past five seasons. In '08, he went 13-9 with a 3.09 ERA in 31 starts for the Brewers.
According to this story from the News Star in Monroe, Sheets threw three sets of pitchers - two sets of 25 and a final set of 10. He topped out at 92 miles per hour.
One of the scouts in attendance was Mariners scout John Stearns, who offers this interesting quote in the story ...
“I was impressed,” said Seattle Mariners scout and former Major League catcher John Stearns, following Sheets’ outing. “Ben was free and easy, throwing the ball really well with not too much effort. He had good velocity. I was especially impressed with his curve ball. He’s got a plus Major League curve ball with a lot of depth to it.
“It looked to me like he was healthy, and health is the key issue here. I’m going to give him a strong recommendation to our organization.”Hmmm, I think Mr. Stearns might get a talking to from his boss GM Jack Zduriencik about sharing things with the media. But this is an interesting development.
Here's another story from MLB.com, including an interview with Sheets and some video.
We've heard all along that the Mariners have had interest in Sheets. Zduriencik is certainly familiar with Sheets having been with Milwaukee and seeing Sheets at his best, including the beginning of 2008, where he earned a start in the 2008 all-star game.
But injury and durability questions have always surrounded Sheets, including shoulder issues that are always a concern. Here's an older blog post from The Hardball Times breaking down Sheets in May of 2008, look at the injury history listed before the elbow issues.
- In 2005, he sustained what was termed a "viral infection" of the inner ear, and missed 30 games due to dizziness and altered balance.
- A torn latissimus dorsi muscle in his right shoulder occurred in late August and ended his season.
- In the offseason, he had a microdiscectomy back surgery to correct a herniated disc in his lumbar spine (low back). While this is considered to be a minor back surgery, it should be noted that no back surgery is "minor." Having any spine procedure as a 27-year-old is somewhat concerning, and leads me to wonder how his overall core conditioning is.
- The 2006 season saw Sheets begin the year on the DL due to a posterior shoulder strain.
- Tendinitis of the right shoulder landed him back on the DL in early May. He spent a great deal of time on the DL with this injury—a span of 72 games passed before he returned to action.
- A torn tendon in his right middle finger sidetracked his 2007 campaign; he was sent to the DL in July and missed a course of 40 games.
- After returning for a few starts, a minor hamstring strain was enough for him to miss the final eight games of the regular season.
- He has also dealt with an array of minor injuries that did not require much, if any, missed time (right pectoral strain, left groin strain).
The details of Felix Hernandez's contract and the breakdown were leaked today, and it is heavily backloaded. According to someestimations by Lookout Landing's Jeff Sulliva
n, the Mariners might have $9 million to spend on Sheets if they were so inclined.
The early feeling was that Sheets will be looking for something similar to the 1-year, $7.5 million contract that Brad Penny got last season. However, a few other people believe he'll be looking for closer to $10 million with heavy incentives.
I think the Mariners would still go for him if they could find somewhere in between those two figures.
Hmm, a rotation of Felix Hernandez, Cliff Lee, Ben Sheets, Ryan Rowland-Smith and Ian Snell would work for me.