Sheff's Out of the Tigers Kitchen

Posted by Bob Biscigliano in ,

News that comes as somewhat of a shock, the Tigers released Gary Sheffield early Tuesday morning, telling him he wasn't good enough to clog their DH hole anymore (that's what she said). The move comes just a day after the Tags acquired speedy outfielder Josh Anderson from the Atlanta Braves for a minor league reliever. Unfortunately, the Tigers will still be responsible for the $14 million Sheff was due to make this season.

Otherwise, this is a good deal because it makes the Tigers a much more versatile team. The DH spot can serve as a revolving door when need be and as a result, will allow more playing time for new 26-year old Tiger, Josh Anderson. I imagine Guillen, Thames (if he's still on the team), Anderson and maybe Magglio Ordonez will rotate in and out of the DH spot depending on matchups and the way they feel physically on given days.

It has long been known that skipper Jim Leyland has major man crushes on speedy lefties. Therefore, releasing Sheff and opening the door wider for Anderson to play appeases him despite the loyalty skip has displayed toward Sheff over the past couple years.

Sheffield has battled injury problems ever since he signed that 3-year megadeal with Detroit. He struggled most of his first season before bouncing back and finishing with a .265 BA 25 HR, 75 RBIs, and a .840 OPS (his lowest OPS in a full season since 1993). Last year, his shoulder problems worsened and he struggled immensely, finishing with a .225 BA, 19 HR, 57 RBIs and a career low (minimum 100 games) OPS of .726.

In his final year of his contract coming into this Spring, Sheffield vouched that he was healthier than ever and looking to have a big season. Some were even saying he was a favorite to win the Comeback Player of the Year Award. Coaches and scouts felt the same way as they noticed that little extra oomph to his swing that he didn't possess in the past few years. Unfortunately, it wasn't translating to the games as he was hitting a buck seventy-eight (.178) in 50 ABs this spring. Sheffield may be just one home run shy of 500 and a future Hall of Famer, but his time has passed.

I was skeptical at first when we signed Sheff after the 2006 World Series. Aside from the ridonkulous contract we gave him, i viewed him as a washed up team cancer waiting to happen. While I stand by my "he's washed up" skepticism, he wasn't that bad of a teammate. Sure, he was outspoken and shared his fair share of time in the limelight as a result of some of his quotes, but for the most part he fit right in with the Tigers. As far as I know, there was never any major problems with him in that clubhouse. That being said, I'm not going to raise my glass and give him a toast for the two wonderfully subpar years he gave to the Tigers, but I felt I should clear that air nonetheless.

Also, he was not always a boring, rally killer for Tigers fans. For example, who remembers his game winning home run against Daniel Cabrera and subsequent stare down and the fight night with Fausto Carmona? For those two moments, I'll for sure remember that Sheffield was once actually a Detroit Tiger.

In the meantime, Sheff can now swim in his $14 million while he waits for some team to call upon his services; and why not? It's on us. If baseball doesn't work out, perhaps he can swipe one of the popular 'Sheff' hats and re-enter the kitchen in Borgata. Although I heard that Chef Ramsay is a real hard ass so maybe that's not a great idea; their personalities might clash.

As for the Tigers, it'll be exciting seeing a speedster in the lineup somedays and maybe even everyday. Who knows? Maybe the Tags plan on moving Granderson down in the order to allow Anderson to start at the top of the lineup. I don't remember the last time the Tigers had a 40-50 SB threat. Anybody recall? Ty Cobb? I'm excited at the prospect of THAT...that's what she said.

GO TAGS!

BallHype: hype it up!

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