Posts Tagged ‘Chicago Cubs’

The Five Best Free Agent Pitchers Left On The Market

February 7, 2010

While everyone is getting ready for the big game, I am writing about baseball. Such is the life I have chosen.

Yesterday, I wrote about the five best hitters left on the free agent market, so today I will focus on the five best pitchers who have yet to find a home for the 2010 season.

Here are the top-five free agent pitchers left on the market:

1. Kiko Calero, Relief Pitcher. At 35-years-old you would think that Calero has been around for forever, but he hasn’t. Kalero has only been in the majors for seven years and perhaps his 2009 season was his best.

In 60 innings pitched with the Florida Marlins, Calero had a 1.95 ERA, 69 strike outs, and only allowed 36 hits in those 60 innings. Those are some impressive numbers.

What was just as impressive was that Calero was equally effective against righties and lefties. He held lefties to a .187 batting average and righties to a .176 average.

Calero would be a valuable addition to any bullpen. The Chicago Cubs and Tampa Bay Rays were rumored to be interested earlier in the offseason.

2. Jarrod Washburn, Starting Pitcher. Washburn was off to a fast start in 2009 and then he was traded to the Detroit Tigers at the trading deadline and things fell apart.

Washburn may be forced into retirement

Washburn suffered a knee injury down the stretch and stumbled to a 1-3 record with a 7.33 ERA with the Tigers. His last start was Sept. 15 against the Kansas City Royals and lasted an impressive one inning and gave up four runs.

Washburn is 35 now and is now even considering retirement if he can’t get an offer from either the Minnesota Twins or Seattle Mariners.

3. Joe Beimel, Relief Pitcher. Beimel is the youngest of any pitcher on this list (32), but his value is not really strong. He is coming off a year where he had a 3.58 ERA and a 1.37 WHIP with the Washington Nationals and Colorado Rockies, which is not bad at all.

However, there is one is problem with Beimel–he doesn’t do anything particularly well.

He doesn’t strike anyone out and as a left-handed pitcher, he isn’t that effective against left-handed batters. Lefties actually had a higher OPS (.781) against Beimel than righties did (.741) in 2009.

A lefty who can’t get left-handed batters out is like a pass rusher, who can’t sack the quarter back. Beimel is like the Vernon Gholston of baseball.

4. Chan Ho Park, Relief Pitcher. It seems like Park has been around forever. It was a really long, long, long time ago that Park was an up-and-coming pitcher with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Park is 36 now and is coming off a year where he had a 4.43 ERA in 83.1 innings with the Philadelphia Phillies. He was actually used as an old-fashioned swing man last year. He was used in relief and made seven starts.

Park is much better suited to be a reliever at this stage in his career. Park had a 2.52 ERA last year in relief and pitched rather well for the Phillies out of the bullpen in the playoffs. He had a three ERA in nine innings during last year’s World Series run.

I wouldn’t trust him in a big spot to save my life, but he should find a home pretty soon.

5. Braden Looper, Starting Pitcher. Looper went 14-7 with the Milwaukee Brewers last season, but don’t be fooled by those 14 wins and his 194.2 innings pitched. Looper was pretty bad last year.

Looper was not impressive with the Brewers in 09'

Looper led the National League in runs allowed (113), home runs allowed (39), and finished fourth in hits allowed (216). He also had an ERA of 5.52. It was like he was going for the anti-triple crown of pitching.

I think Looper will have a hard time getting a major league contract and will most likely sign a minor league deal with incentives.

That’s all for today. Enjoy the Super Bowl everyone!!!

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

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Kris Benson On The Comeback Trail?

February 3, 2010

Is it me or does it seem like there is an unusual amount of pitchers trying to make a comeback this offseason? It seems like everyday we are are hearing about a pitcher who hasn’t pitched in a couple of years and is holding a workout for major league clubs.

This offseason, we have seen Ben Sheets, Derrick Turnbow, Noah Lowry, and others hold a workout in front of clubs and attempt to make a comeback. Now, we can add one more pitcher to the list of pitchers trying to make a comeback.

Benson is trying to make another comeback

According to John Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com, Kris Benson is trying to make a comeback and a number of teams are monitoring his progress this offseason.

Morosi is hearing that the Arizona Diamondbacks, Cincinnati Reds, Chicago Cubs, and Washington Nationals are the teams keeping track of where Benson is at this offseason. This should just tell you the state of pitching in the game of baseball today.

Benson hasn’t been an effective pitcher in the majors since 2006 and even then he wasn’t that good. In that year with the Baltimore Orioles, Benson finished with a 11-12 record with a 4.82 ERA and a 1.40 WHIP.

Benson pitched in the minors and had a cup of coffee with the Texas Rangers last year and was terrible. He gave up 33 hits in 22.1 innings and had a 8.46 ERA in eight games.

A pitcher like Benson is just living off the fact that he was the No.1 overall pick in the draft. But that was almost 14 years ago.

25-30 years ago, Benson wouldn’t even be given a second look. Now, because teams are so desperate to find pitching anywhere they can, scouts are hoping that someone like Benson has something left.

Pitching in baseball has become quantity instead of quality. It seems like now if a guy can just throw a baseball, a team will give him a look. It’s a problem that really doesn’t have an answer.

Until someone comes up with an answer on how to get more quality pitchers in the major leagues, guys like Benson will always been given a shot.

By the way, if you noticed I didn’t give the expected answer of “Well at least we will get to see Anna Benson again,” in regards to Benson’s comeback. I never really understood what the big deal was with her. She never did anything for me.

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

Mark Prior Wants To Be The Next Ben Sheets?

January 30, 2010

I was reading ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark’s Rumblings & Grumblings post this morning and I came across a quote that I thought was pretty interesting. Agent John Boggs had this to say about one of his clients:

“Mark has been through so many timelines, at this point I’m almost allergic to the word,” Boggs said. “But he’s out there. He’s getting himself ready. And when he’s ready, I’m sure you’ll hear a lot about him. Then we’ll invite teams to come watch him throw. And hopefully, he’ll be the next Ben Sheets.”

The Mark, Boggs is referring to is former Chicago Cubs’ pitcher Mark Prior. While I appreciate Boggs’ enthusiasm for his client comparing Prior’s situation to Sheets’, I am going to have to tell Boggs to pump the breaks a little bit.

Prior is on the comeback trail yet again

The only thing Sheets and Prior have in common is that they have been two injury prone pitchers throughout their careers. However, their situations are completely different.

The biggest and main difference between Sheets and Prior is that Sheets has actually taken the mound recently. Like in the last three years.

Sheets was pitching at an All-Star caliber level as late as September of 2008. Prior hasn’t taken the mound in a major league game since August of 2006.

Their situations are night and day.

As we all know, Prior burst on to the baseball scene going 18-6 with a 2.43 ERA for the Chicago Cubs in 2003. Since then, he has been an injury filled mess.

He has had an achilles tendon injury, a compression fracture in his pitching elbow, a strained oblique, shoulder tendonitis, and of course, two shoulder surgeries since 2003. That is a lot for any pitcher to handle.

If you would have told me Prior would only have 18 wins since the 2003, I would have said you were nuts. I would have said you were nuts too if back in 1987 you told me that Dwight Gooden, Darryl Strawberry or Don Mattingly would never even sniff the Hall of Fame.

But this is baseball and one injury can ruin a player’s career.

Many have pointed to Prior’s poor mechanics, which have led to all his injury problems. While that may be the case, there have been pitchers with worse mechanics like Kevin Appier, who managed to pitch for 16 years in the major leagues.

Sometimes bad luck factors into a pitcher’s career just as much as mechanics.

Remarkably, Prior is not even 30-years-old yet. He will turn 30 in September of next year. Due to his relatively young age, I would imagine if Prior did hold a try out, there would be a fair share of teams that would come out to watch him pitch.

But unlike Sheets, Prior won’t get $10 million from a team, nor will he even get a major league contract.

Thus making their situations very, very different.

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

Jim Edmonds Ends Unofficial Retirement, Signs With Brewers

January 28, 2010

Yesterday, I talked about Jim Thome and whether or not he will be a Hall of Famer five years after he retires. The Thome HOF debate is certainly a fascinating one.

Another potential HOF candidate that will strike up a debate five years after he retires is outfielder Jim Edmonds.

One of Edmonds' many great catches

Edmonds is known as one of the better defensive center fielders of all-time. His acrobatic catches are stuff of legend. I still believe his back to the ball, giving catch against the Kansas City Royals as a member of the California/Anaheim Angels is the best catch I have ever seen by a center fielder.

Offensively, Edmonds has quietly amassed 384 home runs, a .284 average, and a .377 OBP. He is a four-time All Star and has two, top-five MVP finishes in his 16 year career.

It’s a classic argument of is the player SO great defensively, that it elevates him to HOF status even though his offensive numbers might not be there?

If you ask most St. Louis Cardinal fans, they will tell you Edmonds is a first-ballot HOF’er. The reality is, while Edmonds has had a nice career, the only way he will ever see the inside of Cooperstown will be if he goes with his family on a visit.

Now, I am sure I will get some less-than-friendly comments from Cardinal fans telling me how Edmonds is worthy of HOF consideration. Of course, it wouldn’t be a normal day without Cardinal fans crying or whining about something.

But Edmonds is not a HOF’er. He doesn’t have the offensive numbers. They are not even close. Defensively, while Edmonds was great, was he better than Devon White, Torii Hunter, or Andruw Jones?

The reason why Brooks Robinson and Ozzie Smith made and Omar Vizquel will make the HOF is because they were so much better defensively than anyone else who ever played their position. You can’t say that about Edmonds.

Whether you believe Edmonds is a HOF’er or not, there is no denying he was a very good player, for a good period of time. I thought Edmonds was going to be forced into retirement after not playing the entire 2009 season, but Edmonds isn’t done yet.

According to Tim Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, via Twitter, the Milwaukee Brewers have signed the Fullerton, CA native to a minor league contract. Edmonds can make $850,000 if he makes the team and another $1.65 million in incentives.

Edmonds last played in the majors in 2008 with the San Diego Padres and the Chicago Cubs. It looked like his career might have been over with the Padres after hitting only .178 with one home run in 26 games.

Edmonds was released and found is second wind with the Cubs and was really good for them. He hit .256 with 19 home runs and had a .937 OPS in just 86 games. He certainly gave the Cubs a spark and helped them to the best record in the National League.

Why the Cubs or any other team for that matter didn’t at least give Edmonds a shot to make the team in 2009 always was a mystery to me. A team could have certainly used him against righties in a pinch-hitting role.

If Edmonds makes the Brewers out of spring training, he could be used in a pinch-hitting role against righties and a fourth outfielder. Edmonds really slipped defensively in 2008 (-14.1 UZR), so I would doubt the Brewers would use him in a platoon with newly acquired center fielder Carlos Gomez.

The Brewers have to grant Edmonds his release if he’s not on the major league roster by March 25th.

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

Andre Dawson To Enter Hall As An Expo

January 27, 2010

When Andre Dawson was elected to the Hall of Fame earlier this month, many wondered which cap he would wear going in? Would it be the Montreal Expos or the Chicago Cubs?

That question was answered today.

According to a report by MLB.com, the Baseball Hall of Fame has decided that Dawson will enter Cooperstown as a Montreal Expo. On his Hall of Fame plaque, Dawson will be wearing an Expos cap.

Dawson will go into the HOF as an Expo

Dawson will become the second player to enter the Hall wearing an Expos cap. Gary Carter or “Pop up Gary” as my dad used to call him, was the first to enter Cooperstown wearing an Expos hat, when he did so in 2003.

While Dawson was obviously pleased with being elected to the HOF, he clearly is not pleased that he will be wearing an Expos hat. In an interview with WMVP-AM Chicago, Dawson said “I’m disappointed. I can proudly say that because Chicago was my preference.”

So which hat should Dawson being wearing? The Cubs or the Expos? Here are Dawson’s lines with both teams.

Expos: .280 with 225 home runs, 838 RBI, 253 stolen bases, and a .326 OBP in 11 years.

Cubs: .285 with 174 home runs, 587 RBI, 57 stolen bases, and a .327 OBP in six years.

It’s a tough call. Dawson played longer and was more of a five-tool-player with the Expos. However, he did have his MVP year and became a household name with the Cubs.

This whole to-do about which hat a player enters the hall with, is very silly to me. This whole Tom Foolery started when Wade Boggs wanted to enter the HOF as a Tampa Bay Devil Ray.

If that clown wanted to enter the Hall originally as a Boston Red Sox or New York Yankee, like he should have, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. It was rumored that the then Devil Rays were offering Boggs monetary compensation to wear their hat on his HOF plaque.

The HOF changed their policy as to which cap a player would wear thanks to Boggs and some other players (Dave Winfield) in 2001. Boggs is wearing a Red Sox cap on his HOF plaque.

I don’t think things like this were an issue 30-40 years ago because players didn’t change teams as often as they do know. Now with players changing teams every couple of years, I don’t have a problem with the HOF deciding which cap a player should wear.

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

Cubs Add Outfield Depth, Sign Xavier Nady

January 27, 2010

Here is what I wrote about Xavier Nady in my free agent primer at the beginning of the offseason:

“Best Low-Risk, High-Reward Hitter: Xavier Nady. Last year, I correctly predicted that Russell Branyan would be the 2007 version of Carlos Pena–a journeyman guy, who finally gets a chance to start and has a big year.

Nady is that free agent this year. Let a small market team sign him to a one-year deal, let him play 1B/DH and watch him hit 30 home runs.”

I really believed at the time that if Nady got a chance to be a full-time DH or first baseman in 2010, he would have a year much like what Russell Branyan had last year. Now, I don’t think he is going to get that chance.

Nady signed with the Chicago Cubs

According to various sources, the Chicago Cubs have signed Nady to a one-year, $3.3 million deal. Nady can also make an additional $2 million in incentives.

Nady played in only seven games for the New York Yankees in 2009 before missing the rest of the season with an elbow injury that resulting in him having his second Tommy John surgery.

The Tommy John surgery was Nady’s second of his career. If Nady is able to come back from a second Tommy John surgery, he would be only the second player to do so.

Catcher Vance Wilson is the only other player to have come back after two successful Tommy John surgeries. Wilson signed a minor league contract with the Kansas City Royals earlier this winter.

The key for Nady will be–and always has been–health. He has only played in 140 plus games just once in his career, but when he is in the lineup, he usually produces.

In his last full season in 2008, Nady hit .305 with 25 home runs, a .355 OBP and knocked in 97 runs with the Pittsburgh Pirates and Yankees. So can Nady produce these number with the Cubs in 2010?

The answer to that question will be based on playing time. Right now, Nady doesn’t have a full-time position with the Cubs. Nady will start the season as a fourth outfielder and right-handed hitter off the bench.

Nady could also find himself in a platoon with Kosuke Fukudome. Nady crushes left-handed pitching (.308/.383/.471 for his career), so he could perhaps spell Fukudome (.242/.343/.324 vs. lefties in his career) against lefties.

While I usually crush Jim Hendry on the moves he makes, I can’t crush him on this one. I like this signing for the Cubs.

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

Starting Rotation: National League Central

January 22, 2010

Today, I am going to take a look at the starting rotations for each National League Central team.

Pitchers like Adam Wainwright, Chris Carpenter, and Roy Oswalt call this division home. This division has quality pitchers throughout.

Here are the starting rotations for each National League Central team as presently constructed.

St. Louis Cardinals

1. Chris Carpenter, RHP

2. Adam Wainwright, RHP

3. Kyle Lohse, RHP

4. Brad Penny, RHP

5. TBD

Quick Take – This rotation is very top heavy with Carpenter and Wainwright leading the way. Carpenter’s health is key. If he is healthy, the Cardinals will be favorites to win the division. I like the Penny signing. The Cardinals don’t have a candidate for the fifth starter right now, so look for them to sign someone.

Milwaukee Brewers

1. Yovani Gallardo, RHP

2. Randy Wolf, LHP

3. Dave Bush, RHP

4. Doug Davis, LHP

5. Jeff Suppan, RHP

Quick Take – With the additions of Wolf and Davis, this rotation is vastly improved from 2009. Wolf and Davis will give the Brewers innings. Look for Gallardo to continue to develop into an ace. Suppan will battle with Manny Parra for the No.5 starter spot.

Chicago Cubs

1. Carlos Zambrano, RHP

2. Ryan Dempster, RHP

3. Randy Wells, RHP

4. Ted Lilly, LHP

5. Tom Gorzelanny, LHP

Quick Take – This might be the most overrated pitching staff in baseball. Dempster has had one good year in the last seven years and was not worthy of his contract. It’s up in the air whether or not Lilly will be ready for Opening Day. I am starting to wonder if all those innings Zambrano threw earlier in his career is coming back to haunt him now?

Cincinnati Reds

1. Bronson Arroyo, RHP

2. Aaron Harang, RHP

3. Johnny Cueto, RHP

4. Homer Bailey, RHP

5. TBD

Quick Take – This rotation will really miss Edinson Volquez in 2010. Volquez might pitch in 2010, but not until towards the end of the season. Arroyo and Harang are prime trade candidates. The Reds’ No.5 starter spot is open right now. I don’t think it will be Aroldis Chapman to start the season.

Houston Astros

1. Roy Oswalt, RHP

2. Wandy Rodriguez, LHP

3. Brett Myers, RHP

4. Bud Norris, RHP

5. Brian Moehler, RHP

Quick Take – From where this rotation was at the beginning of 2009, the Astros have come a long way. Astros need Oswalt to have a bounce back year. Norris showed potential last season, but needs to cut down on his walks and needs to show development next season.

Pittsburgh Pirates

1. Paul Maholm, LHP

2. Zach Duke, LHP

3. Ross Ohlendorf, RHP

4. Charlie Morton, RHP

5. Kevin Hart, RHP

Quick Take – I really feel bad for Maholm and Duke. If they were on better teams, they would be more recognized and people would know how good they are. Morton came over to the Pirates in the Nate McLouth trade and at 26, he needs to step up and prove he belongs in the major leagues.

Tomorrow, I will have the final installment of this series and take a look at the division where pitching dominates–the National League West.

Ben Sheets Impresses Infront Of Scouts

January 21, 2010

As I wrote in a post last week, former Milwaukee Brewers’ ace Ben Sheets was going to work out in front of scouts from at least 15 teams on Tuesday at the campus of the University of Louisiana at Monroe.

Sheets threw well on Tuesday

The results of this workout have been reported and Sheets didn’t disappoint.

According to a report on AOL Fanhouse, Sheets first threw 20 fastballs in the workout, topping out at 91 mph. He then threw another 20 pitches, half of them curveballs. In his third session, Sheets’ fastball topped out at 88 mph and the pitcher looked “gassed,” the report said. Sheets is believed to be seeking a two-year deal.

Even so, the scout said, Sheets “looked good physically and was in good shape” and should be equal to or ahead of other pitchers when spring training opens.

“No red flags,” the scout said. “No restrictions. He threw nice and loose.

“It couldn’t have gone any better.”

“I had a good showing today and I showed them what I got,” Sheets said. “I welcomed them to stay because a big part of being healthy is being able to recover … At this point now, I’m only getting better. Each day, I’m only getting healthier. I’m bouncing back really good.”

I am really not surprised Sheets threw well and appeared healthy. As I wrote in the post last week, there was no way on earth Sheets’ agent (Casey Close) would have let Sheets throw unless they both felt he was ready to go.

Expect Sheets to sign with a team in the next couple of weeks. I am still of the belief that the Chicago Cubs will be that team who eventually signs Sheets.

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

Starting Nine: National League Central

January 15, 2010

Next up in our Starting Nine series is the National League Central. Outside of the St. Louis Cardinals re-signing Matt Holliday, there haven’t been any big-time offensive additions to this division. As a whole, this might be the weakest offensive division in baseball (yes, even passing the NL West).

Let’s take a look at the starting lineups for all six teams in this division as presently constructed.

St. Louis Cardinals

1. Skip Schumaker, 2B

2. Brendan Ryan, SS

3. Albert Pujols, 1B

4. Matt Holliday, LF

5. Ryan Ludwick, RF

6. Yadier Molina, C

7. Colby Rasmus, CF

8. David Freese, 3B

9. Chris Carpenter, P

Quick Take – Re-signing Holliday was crucial to this lineup. Despite having Holliday and Pujols in the three-four spot, this lineup will only be as dynamic as Rasmus and Freese takes them.

Milwaukee Brewers

1. Rickie Weeks, 2B

2. Alcides Escobar, SS

3. Ryan Braun, LF

4. Prince Fielder, 1B

5. Casey McGehee, 3B

6. Corey Hart, RF

7. Gregg Zaun, C

8. Carlos Gomez, CF

8. Yovani Gallardo, P

Quick Take – The Brewers sacrificed some offense for defense in 2010. This isn’t the powerful Brewers’ lineup of the last couple of years. There are a lot of automatic outs from seven through nine.

Chicago Cubs

1. Alfonso Soriano, LF

2. Kosuke Fukudome, RF

3. Derek Lee, 1B

4. Aramis Ramirez, 3B

5. Marlon Byrd, CF

6. Geovany Soto, C

7. Ryan Theriot, SS

8. Mike Fontenot, 2B

9. Carlos Zambrano, P

Quick Take – This lineup is getting old in a hurry. If Soriano, Ramirez, and Soto can come back from disappointing 2009 seasons, the Cubs could be in business in 2010. However, I still think they are going to be hard pressed to score runs in 2010.

Cincinnati Reds

1. Drew Stubbs, CF

2. Brandon Phillips, 2B

3. Joey Votto, 1B

4. Jay Bruce, RF

5. Scott Rolen, 3B

6. Ramon Hernandez, C

7. Paul Janish, SS

8. Chris Dickerson, LF

9. Bronson Arroyo, P

Quick Take – This lineup looks good for now and even better for the future. If Bruce can stay healthy, he could have a breakout year in 2010. I would like someone better than Janish at SS, but top prospect Todd Frazier isn’t ready to take over just yet.

Houston Astros

1. Michael Bourn, CF

2. Kaz Matsui, 2B

3. Lance Berkman, 1B

4. Carlos Lee, LF

5. Hunter Pence, RF

6. Pedro Feliz, 3B

7. J.R. Towles, C

8. Tommy Manzella, SS

9. Roy Oswalt, P

Quick Take – This six through nine is brutal. It’s hard to have a top offense when the bottom part of your lineup is this bad. Top catching prospect Jason Castro is not too far away, so this is Towles’ last stand with the Astros.

Pittsburgh Pirates

1. Andrew McCutchen, CF

2. Akinori Iwamura, 2B

3. Garrett Jones, 1B

4. Ryan Doumit, C

5. Andy LaRoche, 3B

6. Lastings Milledge, LF

7. Ryan Church, RF

8. Ronny Cedeno, SS

9. Zach Duke, P

Quick Take – I think in order to maximize their offense’s potential, the Pirates will play Jones at first and Church in right instead of playing Jones in right and Jeff Clement at first. The Pirates’ offense will be better in 2010, but will still have a hard time scoring runs on a consistent basis.

Last, but not least, tomorrow we will take a look at the National League West.

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

Ben Sheets To Hold Audition Next Tuesday

January 14, 2010

Hoping to attract more interest on the free agent market and perhaps a bigger contract, former Milwaukee Brewers’ ace Ben Sheets is holding essentially what becomes an open audition next Tuesday at the campus of the University of Louisiana at Monroe according to ESPN.com’s Tim Kurkjian.

According to Kurkjian’s source, six to 10 teams will be in attendance scouting Sheets. I think this is a pretty smart move by Sheets and his agent.

Sheets will throw for teams on Tuesday

Sheets is perhaps the highest risk and highest reward pitcher out of all the high risk pitchers left on the market. At least Erik Bedard pitched last season.

Sheets was on the shelf all of last year.

Sheets missed the entire 2009 season with a torn flexor tendon in his pitching elbow. Sheets thought he might be able to come back after the All-Star break, but never made it back.

In 2008, Sheets made 30+ starts for the first time since 2004. He went 13-9 with a 3.09 ERA and struck out 158 in 198.1 innings. However, it was in his final start of the 2008 season trying to get the Brewers in the playoffs, where Sheets torn his flexor tendon.

If Sheets’ arm does feel “fantastic” as he said, then he has everything to gain with this audition. If Sheets shows he still has the velocity and the “stuff,” he and his agent can engage in a bidding war, which will only raise his price.

I would highly doubt Sheets would hold this audition if he wasn’t ready to go. If he is not ready, then him and his agent are the two dumbest people involved in the baseball industry. Well, they would be second and third behind Mark McGwire.

One of the six to ten teams that will view Sheets on Tuesday will be the Chicago Cubs. And that’s where I think Sheets ends up. Ted Lilly won’t be available until late April, early May, so the Cubs could use another pitcher to add depth in their rotation.

However, no matter how well Sheets throws on Tuesday, don’t expect him to get anything more than a one-year, incentive laden deal.

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