Oakland A’s Sign Ben Sheets

There were a lot of teams interested in Ben Sheets. Rumor had it there were at least 15 teams that watched Sheets workout at the University of Louisiana at Monroe last Tuesday.

I thought the Chicago Cubs, New York Mets, Texas Rangers, or maybe even the Seattle Mariners were his most likely landing spots. However, it was another team that swooped in and signed the 31-year-old right-hander.

Sheets is headed to Oakland

According to SI.com’s Jon Heyman, the Oakland A’s have signed Sheets to a one-year, $10 million contract. The deal will also include performances bonuses that can net Sheets an extra $2 million.

Well, I am going to have to admit I am a little surprised by the amount of money Sheets got, but I understand the signing for both parties.

For the A’s, this is the same move they pulled last year when they traded for Matt Holliday and signed Orlando Cabrera and Jason Giambi during the offseason. These moves weren’t made so the A’s can win the AL West, they were made so the A’s can get top prospects back.

The A’s are a young team right now and won’t be competing for the AL West crown in 2010. The A’s signed Sheets in hopes that he comes back next year healthy, so they can trade him for some top hitting or pitching prospects.

Pitchers hold more value at the trade deadline than hitters, so if Sheets stays healthy in 2010, then the A’s can get a significant return for him. If Sheets gets hurt again next year, then he is only on a one-year deal and the A’s aren’t stuck with a long-term disaster.

For Sheets, the A’s make sense for a couple of reasons.

For one, I don’t think any other team was willing to go to $10 million for one year of his services. That is a lot of money for a guy who has made 30 starts just once in the last five years and missed all of 2009.

Sheets took the most money offered and who can blame him? I would have done the same thing.

Secondly, pitching in Oakland is probably good for a pitcher trying to make a comeback. The Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum is a pitcher’s ballpark.

With its large foul territory and pitcher friendly dimensions, any pitcher wouldn’t mind pitching in that stadium. Also, the air at night in Oakland gets pretty heavy and a lot of home runs go to die, which helps. Sheets can make some mistakes in Oakland that won’t cost him like they would in let’s say Milwaukee or Texas.

Sheets will be entering his ninth season in the major leagues and has a career record of 86-83 with a 3.72 ERA and is a four-time All Star with the Brewers.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

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