Sunday, April 11, 2010


I tried not to worry too much about Ben Sheets' rough spring.

After all, even before he was hurt, he always had a brutal time rounding into form, and he always did find it once the lights went on Opening Day.

But this year is different. Sheets is the Great Unknown -- actually, one of several -- on my pitching staff.

And with a WHIP of 1.91 in two starts this year, I'm already he worth keeping?

I decided to consult the Psychic, who was in rare form as she began to envision Sheets the minute I brought his name up.

"I see yellow and white."

Yes, he pitches for the A's.

"And he's a blonde kind?"

Well, not a kid anymore -- at age 31, Sheets is no spring chicken -- but he IS blonde, that's true.

"He's messed up in the head."

Whoa. Suddenly I hope Sheets and his family never read this blog. That's kind of harsh, so I ask for clarification.

"He lacks confidence. That's what I mean. Is he hurt? Does he get hurt a lot?"

Ummm, yeah. He didn't throw a pitch last year. And prior to that, he didn't have much of a positive track record regarding his health.

"He's worried he'll get hurt again. He's no good. I can't see the future, just the present. He could get good, but he's not good right now. You should cut him."

There you go. I may hang on to him for one more start, just to make sure (I'll bench him for that one). But it looks like my pitching may need its first cut of the year.

There are only 10 teams in my current mixed league. That means there are the likes of Ted Lily, Chris Young, Dice-K, and Gavin Floyd sitting around on the waiver wire.

I took hitters early in the draft, anchored my staff with Jon Lester and Brett Anderson, and then took a bunch of high-risk, high-reward pitchers. Then I traded for Webb, which put me all-in on that strategy. I knew the Floyds and Youngs would be out there, and figured I could get three aces and have to make a couple cuts amongst Sheets, Webb, Eric Bedard, Francisco Liriano, and Jake Peavy.

Looks like Sheets may be the first to go. He doesn't look good, he doesn't look confident, and one strikeout with two baserunners per inning would have blown my ratios last night, if they hadn't been blown already for the week (see previous post).

Neither I nor the Psychic are saying Sheets won't be good this year. But I can't bear having him sit around on my bench, or blow my ratios for a month, when I can get a Gavin Floyd or even a Ted Lily (who's coming off the DL, and who the Psychic loves) for the whole season.

I've always been quick with the trigger, and sometimes it burns me (see Pablo Sandoval last year). But that strategy also lets me pick up hot commodities (see Justin Upton last year). So I'll figure out the hottest hands at pitcher this week, take some gambles, and yes, Mr. Sheets, it's probably time for you to leave the island.

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