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Tag:Ben Sheets
Posted on: September 10, 2010 10:50 am

Power will be priority for A's

Coco Crisp
How many times have we heard that a team is "a bat or two away" from contending? The A's think they really are, and finding players with power will be their top priority this winter, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

The A's have by far the best ERA in the American League (3.55) and are a little below average in batting for average and getting on base (ninth in both). Where they fall clearly short is power. No team in baseball has hit fewer home runs, and they are second-worst in slugging percentage. Their top home run hitter, Kevin Kouzmanoff, has just 14. Their starters at first base, third base and designated hitter have combined for 32. No matter how well they pitch, that's not going to cut it.

"The game is changing. There aren't guys who can hit 50 homers, but you still have to have two guys in the lineup who are threats to hit the ball out of the ballpark," second baseman Mark Ellis said. "That would make everyone else better, too. But they're not easy to find."

General manager Billy Beane says he'll be looking, and Beane will have a little money to work with as $22 million comes off the books with Ben Sheets and Eric Chavez.

Adam Dunn, Paul Konerko, Carlos Pena, Jayson Werth and possibly David Ortiz (who has a club option) will be among the power hitters available this winter.

-- David Andriesen

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Posted on: August 28, 2010 1:56 am

Sheets unsure what the future holds

Ben Sheets Speaking of Tommy John surgery… Ben Sheets told reporters on Friday that he doesn't know if he'll be able to pitch again.

Sheets, 32, underwent Tommy John surgery earlier this month. And when he was asked about Stephen Strasburg's upcoming procedure, Sheets told the San Francisco Chronicle , "I wish that's all I had."

In addition to Tommy John surgery on Aug. 9, Sheets also had the flexor and pronator tendons in his elbow repaired at the same time as the ulnar collateral ligament.

"They fixed it all," Sheets said. "It doesn't add more time to the rehab. It makes it tougher to come back from, the more stuff you have."

Sheets said he had a tendon taken from his hamstring, not his non-throwing arm, as is usually done. The tendon in his left arm was too small, so doctors went to his leg before taking a hamstring tendon.

Sheets signed a one-year, $10 million contract with the A's before the season. He started 20 games, going 4-9 with a 4.53 ERA. Sheets will be a free agent after the season, which makes his comeback a little tougher because he won't have access to a team's training staff and facilities.

I talked to a pitcher earlier this season that was given a minor-league deal for next season after he underwent Tommy John surgery and was ecstatic -- he said he'd have had to retire if he didn't sign with a team. He was more of a fringe big leaguer and not someone like Sheets, but the point still stands -- even if it's less extreme for someone who has made more than $52 million in his carer.

For now, Sheets is hanging around the A's and mentoring some of the team's young pitchers. But he doesn't know what's going to happen after the season ends.

"If my arm heals and feels great, I'm going to give it a shot," Sheets told the San Jose Mercury News . "But that's up in the air, it really is."

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed .

Category: MLB
Tags: A's, Ben Sheets
Posted on: August 11, 2010 4:20 pm

Sheets' surgery more serious than expected

Ben Sheets
It turns out Ben Sheets went for the full-meal deal on the operating table Monday, and it could mean the end of the line for the four-time All-Star.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that in addition to the flexor-tendon surgery that was expected, the A's right-hander also had to undergo Tommy John ligament replacement surgery and had a procedure on his pronator tendon.

That means the 32-year-old had work done on every major structure of his elbow, and the timetable for a return to pitching would be at least a year and a half. That means spring 2012, if he's lucky -- and with no assurances about whether he'll be effective.

Not that Sheets asked for my opinion, but here's a thought: why not hang 'em up? We've watched too many players go through too much to try to hang on. Yes, the money's good, but he's earned, according to, $52,218,000 in the major leagues. Surely with some good, disciplined budgeting, he can stretch it.

Everybody loves a comeback story, but you know what else makes a good story? A guy who gets to retire at 32 and spend the rest of his life spending time with his family and friends.

-- David Andriesen

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Category: MLB
Posted on: July 28, 2010 6:05 pm
Edited on: July 28, 2010 9:41 pm

Sheets done for season, possibly career

Ben Sheets It was the worst-case scenario for Ben Sheets: a torn flexor tendon that will require surgery to fix, according to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle .

Sheets missed all of 2009 with the exact same injury and surgery, so the road back will be rough. In 20 starts on the year, Sheets had a 4.53 ERA for the Athletics, making $10 million in his first season not with the Milwaukee Brewers.

The 31-year-old will likely not pitch until the end of the 2011 season, and even that is optimistic. It's possible the surgery could be a career-ender, although Jason Jennings had the surgery twice and is rehabbing with the Athletics. Jennings cobbled together several solid seasons for the Rockies before going under the knife for the first time in August 2007 after starting the season poorly with the Astros.

Jennings then joined the Rangers and underwent surgery again without throwing an official major-league pitch. He was able to return later in the season and make six (terrible) starts. In 2009, he was converted to relief and appeared out of the bullpen through August. He was so bad in August, however, that he was designated for assignment.

He signed a minor-league deal with the Athletics for 2010 and is currently on a throwing program -- he has not thrown an official professional pitch at all after imploding in spring training. Coming back from a second torn flexor tendon certainly requires quite a lot of work and time away from the game.

It's a tough blow for Sheets, and no one would blame him for walking away from the game. He's made millions, been considered one of the best pitchers in the game and has put his arm on the line twice now. He'll have a rough go of it in 2011, as he will be a free agent. It will be tough to find someone willing to ink him to a minor-league deal and pay a salary on top of all the rehabilitation work.

-- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.
Category: MLB
Posted on: July 22, 2010 9:17 pm
Edited on: April 18, 2011 11:39 am

Dodgers may be able to add payroll

Despite the nasty divorce of owner Frank McCourt that has been rumored to handcuff the Dodgers, the team may add to its payroll at the trade deadline, Tony Jackson of reports .

The Dodgers are looking for pitching help and Jackson writes the team is "zeroing in" on Houston ace Roy Oswalt.

Jackson is one of several starters the team is interested in and made some initial contact about. The others are Ben Sheets, Dan Haren, Ted Lilly and Paul Maholm.

Jackson notes the team's more urgent need may be bullpen help. Toronto's Scott Downs and Jason Frasor have been "scouted heavily" by the Dodgers.

"Pitching continues to be our priority," Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti said. "With Manny [Ramirez] going down and Reed Johnson still out, we might look at trying to shore up our outfield as well."

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Posted on: July 20, 2010 7:58 pm
Edited on: July 20, 2010 9:39 pm

Phillies eyeing starter for Saturday

Kevin Millwood Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro hinted Tuesday that the Phillies might make a deal for a starting pitcher in advance of Saturday, reports Martin Frank of the Delaware News Journal .

If a deal doesn't happen, the best internal candidate is J.A. Happ, although he has pitched poorly in his road back from a left forearm strain. Other internal candidates exist, but there is no overwhelming choice.

The Phillies sent Kyle Kendrick to the minor leagues Tuesday, opting to call up Andrew Carpenter as a long reliever. Kendrick can't be the fifth-starter solution as he cannot be recalled for 10 days -- unless someone gets hurt. So why would Amaro make such a risky move to leave the team without a fifth starter?

"I think we know exactly what we’re going to do. I just choose not to tell you," Amaro tells Frank, presumably in a haughty voice.

The Phillies have been linked to Ben Sheets, although word out of Oakland camp has the A's uninterested in dealing Sheets. A curious move, given Sheets has an underwhelming 4.53 ERA in 20 starts for the A's and will make a full $10 million on the year.

Other starting pitchers the Phillies could be interested in that would come as a complementary piece (in other words, not a blockbuster trade such as Roy Oswalt) include Kevin Millwood of the Orioles and Jake Westbrook of the Indians.

After a strong start to the season, Millwood quickly deteriorated, hitting the DL with a right forearm strain on July 6. He was activated off the DL Tuesday and is on target to start Thursday against the Twins. This may not line him up well for a trade to Philadelphia, given he would be unavailable to start Saturday unless dealt before Thursday. And it's difficult to imagine Philly pulling the trigger without seeing Millwood pitch in at least one game coming off the DL.

-- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Posted on: July 19, 2010 11:15 am
Edited on: July 19, 2010 3:56 pm

Tigers on the trade prowl

Ben Sheets After being swept by lowly Cleveland, the Tigers may be looking to make several moves to help bolster their American League Central title hopes. senior writer Scott Miller writes the Tigers were the only team to send a scout solely to watch Dan Haren against the Padres on Friday and the team's also interested in Oakland's Ben Sheets.

Sheets is starting tonight for the A's, but the Tigers have already been checking out the Athletics, reports Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle . The Tigers have been eyeing relievers Michael Wuertz and Craig Breslow.

Wuertz is under control through 2012, under contract through next season with a club option for 2012, while Breslow will be arbitration-eligible for the first time this year.

Sheets may be easier to dump for Oakland thanks to Vin Mazzaro's recent performance. Sheets signed a one-year, $10 million deal before the season. He's 4-8 with a 4.63 ERA in 19 starts.

Jeff Blair of the Globe and Mail notes the Tigers could make a play for Blue Jays' John Buck.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Posted on: July 16, 2010 1:50 am
Edited on: July 16, 2010 10:28 am

Are A's buyers or sellers?

Coco Crisp As the second half of the season gets going, the buyers and sellers are pretty clear -- except, for maybe, the Oakland A's.

The A's are 43-46, eight games behind the Rangers and Joe Stiglich of the San Jose Mercury News looks ahead to the second half and talks to Billy Beane, who doesn't sound much like a buyer at this point.

"Certainly wins and losses are ultimately the most important thing," Beane told Stiglich. "[But] I always think you have to be careful and understand that with a young team, and a challenging financial situation, you have to temper your expectations somewhat and exercise patience."

Hardly the sound bite of a man willing to go for it all.

The A's trail the Rangers and the Angels, but of the 13 teams with losing records, the A's are the closest to a division lead.

As a seller, the A's have starter Ben Sheets (4-8. 4.63 ERA and a 2-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio) and outfielder Coco Crisp (.277/.333/.554).

As a buyer, Oakland could use another starter because of the recent injuries to Brett Anderson and Dallas Braden and more help in the bullpen -- but who isn't looking for bullpen help at this point?

Beane will have to make his decision soon -- but it shouldn't take long to push it. Although Texas usually flounders later in the summer , any misstep by the A's in the next couple of series (at Kansas City and against Boston) and the direction will be made easy.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or