Dear Mariners: Sign Gary Sheffield

So the Seattle Mariners are terrible offensively; this we all know. Coming into Saturday, the M’s had just just two players with an OPS over .700 (Ichiro Suzuki at .710 and Franklin Gutierrez at .852). With Ken Griffey Jr. and Mike Sweeney not doing the “veteran hitter” job they are supposed to, I have no idea why Seattle has not signed Gary Sheffield.

Sheffield, 41, can both DH and play a below-average left field if need be. Here were his numbers last year:

2009: .276/.372/.451, .359 wOBA, 122 wRC+, 1.16 WPA

Pretty good stuff. More importantly, Sheffield started off hot and cooled down later in the year due to his weak legs, a problem that stemmed from his having to play left field almost everyday. In Seattle, Shef could DH and focus solely on hitting. Here’s what the projection systems have for Sheffield in 2010:

Marcel: .334 wOBA, .752 OPS
Bill James: .336 wOBA, .762 OPS
ZiPS: .339 wOBA, .758 OPS
CHONE: .327 wOBA, .728 OPS
Fans (13): .361 wOBA, .820 OPS

Not bad, and definitely better than what the M’s have right now. With Milton Bradley in limbo, Griffey and Sweeney pretty much done, and nobody else carrying the load, Jack Z should give Gary Sheffield a chance.

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  1. Nick Steiner said...

    Sheffield is an extreme pull hitter and a righty.  Safeco is death on those players.  I would be shocked if Shef could put up much better than a .320 wOBA line in Safeco and that’s pretty terrible for a DH.

  2. Richard Barton said...

    Both Dye and Sheffield would require time in the minors to get into shape and get their timing right. Blalock would be ready to step in immediately, and he has a better glove. Another problem with Dye is that he has reportedly been asking for big bucks. The Mariners should use Saunders in LF as Nolan suggests, and use Blalock between 1B and DH. He could also serve as a backup at 3B, which is were he’s been playing at Durham.

  3. Richard Barton said...

    Hank Blalock is hitting .388 with a .989 OPS at Triple-A Durham. I understand he has an out clause in his contract. Why not sign Blalock and deploy him between 1B and DH? He’d certainly be an upgrade over the Griffey/Sweeney platoon, and he’s probably a better hitter than Kotchman too. He certainly has more power. What have the M’s got to lose?

  4. nolan said...

    You’re forgetting about Michael Saunders, the power-hitting left-handeded prospect. The M’s called him up a few days ago. He’ll likely play left field against righties while Milton Bradley will hit against lefties. Langerhans is sure to get some at-bats as well.

    Saunders has potential. At Triple-A last year he hit for a .234 ISO and a .400 wOBA in 282 PAs. He played poorly in 2009 (.244 wOBA, .537 OPS) but remember he’s only twenty-three years old.

    Also Saunders’ defense is by all accounts better than Sheffield’s.

    Saunders’ projections for 2010:
    Marcel: .313 wOBA, .706 OPS
    Bill James: .325 wOBA, .742 OPS
    ZiPS: .312 wOBA, .706 OPS
    CHONE: .311 wOBA, .707 OPS
    Fans (13): .324 wOBA, .733 OPS

    While there is a drop-off in projections, the fans projected the name, not the player, in Sheffield’s case. I could see Saunders topping these projections, whereas I don’t see Sheffield hitting .750 OPS playing half his games in Safeco.

    I would rather give a prospect under team control a shot than sign a 40 year old slugger with ‘weak legs’ on a bench with both Ken Griffey Jr. and Mike ‘Hugs’ Sweeney. Saunders fits the park and the team much better.

    It appears Mariners solved their left field issue internally. Left field isn’t really issue anyway. The problem is that nobody on the team is hitting well. Either they break out of their slump or they don’t. Gary Sheffield isn’t going to fix that.

  5. nolan said...

    On a side note, Sheffield and Saunders were born exactly one day and eighteen years apart.

  6. Paul Moehringer said...

    If you go just based on talent alone, there’s no reason why the Mariners shouldn’t sign Sheff, or alot of other teams for that matter, but there’s a very good reason why Sheff hasn’t signed, and it’s because of Gary Sheffield.

    The second players with the personality of Sheffield stop being premeir players, their career is over.

  7. pinball1973 said...

    I had no trouble – other than the common sense I was sure Jack Z. also had dictated – with the M’s getting Milton Bradley.  That I am dead against the very idea of Sheffield being brought in indicates how special he is: a great batter in his declining years who would, even if he were a reasonable success, still be as welcome as having a fresh turd in the punchbowl of every game.
      He is perhaps the only “great” player of this time I dislike and avoid even as a box score.

      Please do NOT do this!

  8. Brandon said...

    I’m REALLY not sure that adding Sheffield to Bradley would do wonders for clubhouse chemistry. These guys both have their own personal dark clouds that surround them many days—and it already rains enough in Seattle!

  9. Dave Studeman said...

    Last year, Sheffield’s stats were boosted a lot by a .349 batting average on ground balls.  Won’t happen again.

  10. Pat Andriola said...


    Mariners DH’s thus far this season have a .213 wOBA, about .70 points behind the second place team in the American League, good for the lowest mark from any position (minus pitcher) in all of baseball.

    Sheffield is rather inexpensive and could take walks and hit homeruns, and at worst be a valuable bat off the bench.

    Safeco is tough for righties, but Sheff put up his numbers in Citi Field last year (not exactly a bandbox).

    It’s an option certainly worth considering.

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