Sheffield threatening to leave Mets

According to a report by the New York Post, Mets outfielder Gary Sheffield asked the club for a contract extension, they rejected, and now he’s threatening to leave the team and go home.

As of 6:30 p.m., one of the sources said, Mets officials and Sheffield were in discussions on how to move forward. Mets pitcher Tim Redding actually said he heard Sheffield had been released. But a Mets official told the Post that was inaccurate and that Sheffield had not been released.

Sheffield had been part of the original lineup for Thursday night’s game against the Braves. But Jerry Manuel said that Sheffield had pulled himself to clear his head.

It’s understandable that Sheffield wants an extension considering that his current contract is expiring and at his age, he’s looking for a little job security. He’s also hitting .285 with 10 home runs and 43 RBI, so he’s had a good season up to this point.

But it was highly unprofessional of him to remove himself from the starting lineup on Thursday because he’s upset with the front office. Just because he’s had a good year and has proven that he can still play at 40, doesn’t mean he’s entitled to put his personal desires above the team.

The Mets gave him a chance to continue his career after the Tigers released him in March and how does he repay them? By causing a stink because they won’t give him a contract extension. Seems selfish and immature on his part.

Sheffield has burned down bridges everywhere he’s gone and seems intent on doing that again in New York.

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Top 10 MLB active free passes

There are some batters that no pitcher wants to face, especially in a crucial situation with runners on base, or with first base open. But some guys are intentionally walked with regularity, and in some cases, even with the bases loaded to give up one run instead of four. Here is the current Top 10 among active players in intentional walks. Pitchers, proceed at your own risk…..

1. Ken Griffey, Seattle Mariners (244)—Of course this guy has always been a feared slugger, but he had a career high 25 intentionals in 1993, and the year he slugged 56 homers with 147 RBI on his way to winning the AL MVP (1997), Griffey was intentionally walked 23 times. Yikes. But before we get all excited about that, consider that Barry Bonds was given the free pass 120 times in 2004, a league record that surely will never be broken.

2. Vladimir Guerrero, Los Angeles Angels (240)—He’s topped 20 seven times and 30 once. Is he that feared or are pitchers tired of looking at that crap on Vlad’s helmet?

3. Manny Ramirez, Los Angeles Dodgers (199)—‘Roids, no ‘roids, hormones, no hormones, whatever. This is the one guy in baseball I am never pitching to if I don’t have to.

4. Carlos Delgado, New York Mets (186)—As a Mets fan, I’m just glad my team doesn’t have to face this guy. There is always the potential to hit one 600 feet the opposite way.

5. Todd Helton, Colorado Rockies (172)—You don’t give a guy like Helton anything to hit, not with a .329 lifetime batting average, as well as an average of 30 homers and 109 RBI per season.

6. Albert Pujols, St. Louis Cardinals (160)—Oh yeah, screw what I said about Manny. I forgot about Albert. He’s only 29 years old and should easily hit 700 homers or more. THIS is the guy I don’t ever pitch to if it’s not necessary.

7. Jim Thome, Chicago White Sox (159)—It’s interesting to note that in the ‘90’s Thome and Ramirez typically had single digits in free passes. That’s because if you put them on, you still had to face Albert Belle or Eddie Murray.

8. Chipper Jones, Atlanta Braves (143)—It’s kind of funny that Chipper’s intentional walks are declining as he’s becoming a better and better hitter.

9. Ichiro Suzuki, Seattle Mariners (129)—This one baffles me. Why put a guy on who averages 40 steals per season?

10. Gary Sheffield, New York Mets (128)—A nice, long career, and sheer intimidation at the plate, even today at age 40.

Source: Baseball Reference

Top 10 active RBI leaders

You want a telling statistic in baseball? How about the good ol’ run batted in (RBI)? This is a stat usually dominated by home run hitters, but it’s also a good indicator of productivity at the plate. The guys on this list have been doing it over time, as well, whether they have been chemically enhanced or not, and to qualify, they must be currently on a major league roster:

1. Ken Griffey, Seattle Mariners (1774)—I can’t think of a classier player in the last 20 years. And how about these numbers….from 1996 to 1999, the last four years of Griffey’s first tenure with Seattle, he had 567 RBI. That’s an AVERAGE of 142 per season. Just sick.

2. Manny Ramirez, Los Angeles Dodgers (1738)—For all the fun we poke at Man Ram for being a goofy, lazy, eccentric superstar, we always temper our joking with “but the guy sure can rake.” You want sick numbers? From 1995 when Manny began playing regularly (okay, it was technically 1994 but that season was cut way short) through 2008, he has averaged 111 RBI per season. Think about that.

3. Gary Sheffield, New York Mets (1634)—It’s hard to believe this guy has been in the big leagues longer than Griffey. And unlike some of the other guys on this list, Sheffield’s 1634 RBI is more about longevity, as his career high is only 132.

4. Alex Rodriguez, New York Yankees (1606)—A-Rod is almost a lock to pass 2000 RBI, and when you hear the other three names that have done that, it will blow your mind….Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth, and Cap Anson.

5. Carlos Delgado, New York Mets (1504)—Another guy with a nice, long career, and he’s topped 100 RBI nine times….so far.

6. Jim Thome, Chicago White Sox (1498)—38 years old and he’s still mashing. I know I’ve written this before, but it’s hard to believe the Indians had Thome and Man Ram in the lineup as well as Albert Belle and Eddie Murray, and didn’t win like five titles.

7. Chipper Jones, Atlanta Braves (1378)—Come to think of it, it’s hard to believe the Braves didn’t win more than one World Series after winning fourteen straight division crowns. But don’t blame Chipper.

8. Garret Anderson, Atlanta Braves (1292)—He’s lost some pop the last few seasons, but still a solid, productive player.

9. Jason Giambi, Oakland Athletics (1285)—He juiced, he admitted it, and everyone still loves this guy. Maybe that’s because he didn’t lie about it. And Giambi’s 32 homers and 96 RBI last year at the age of 37 proves he didn’t need the juice to begin with.

10. Vladimir Guerrero, Los Angeles Angels (1271)—Another freak of nature type hitter who has averaged 117 RBI per season over the course of his career. And Vlad is still only 34.

P.S. Did anyone else notice there are no Red Sox players on this list?

Source: Baseball Reference

Mets sign Gary Sheffield

The Mets have signed free agent outfielder Gary Sheffield according to’s Jon Heyman.

It is presumed that the Mets will pay him the pro-rated portion of the $400,000 minimum. The Tigers are obligated to pick up the rest of Sheffield’s $14 million salary.

“Gary gives us another element in the lineup and he gives us a different intensity, just because of the competitive guy that he is,” Mets GM Omar Minaya said.

Sheffield chose the Mets over the Phillies and Reds because he believes he’ll get more playing time in New York.

“The Mets told him, ‘You deliver, and you’ll play,’ ” a person close to Sheffield said.

Though Mets people have said no promises have been made.

Sheffield should be on a short leash. He’s expected to be a right-handed bat off the bench and maybe get some time in right field but the moment he starts bitching about his playing time Omar Minaya should end the experiment.

The added pop to the lineup will be nice for the Mets, but they don’t need anyone getting in the way of the development of youngsters Daniel Murphy or Ryan Church.

Mets on the verge of signing Gary Sheffield?

According to Newsday, the Mets are close to signing a deal with free agent outfielder Gary Sheffield, who was recently released by the Tigers.

Gary SheffieldThe Mets have contacted Gary Sheffield directly to gauge his interest in coming to New York and a person familiar with the situation said today that he could sign with a club as soon as tonight. Sheffield worked out yesterday at a college field in Tampa, as first reported by, and the Mets are considered to be his first choice, with the Phillies and Reds also showing interest.

On the surface, Sheffield appears to be a good fit for the Mets as a right-handed slugger capable of providing power off the bench. If they did sign Sheffield, Marlon Anderson is the most obvious roster casualty. Eating his $1.15-million salary is made more palatable by the fact that Sheffield is only due the major-league minimum of $400,000. The Tigers released him earlier this week despite owing him $14 million for this season.

Finding Sheffield playing time is a little more complicated. The Mets could immediately platoon him with Ryan Church in rightfield, which seems more likely given their infatuation with Daniel Murphy in left. Of course, if Murphy struggles, that decision could be flipped.

On the surface, adding a player who can bring some pop to your lineup makes sense but is Sheffield really a good fit for the Mets? Sheff is never above bitching about his role and considering the Mets already have a pretty crowded outfield as it is, will he start to complain about his playing time?

I think GM Omar Minaya is doing his due diligence to explore every option available. But adding a often cranky 40-year old outfielder with declining defensive skills (that’s putting it nicely) and a long injury history might not be worth it in the end.

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