The announcement came out last night that Gary Sheffield’s switch to full time left fielder had come to an end after only 5 games. This latest turn of events isn’t surprising, but the aftermath makes no sense. The Tigers are relegated to carrying a player on the roster who can’t even DH everyday. If only there was some sort of way to deal with injured players so that they wouldn’t take up a roster spot and you could have a substitute for them…
When the news came out that Sheffield was switching to left, it made little sense from a baseball standpoint. Especially since it meant moving better fielding players like Matt Joyce to the DH role. But there was some merit in the move. Given Sheffield and the Tigers problems if there was a chance to get either going I’m all for it. Sheffield didn’t have any miscues in the field, and since the switch he hit 278/458/389 so it cost the team little.
The other reason to be in favor of the move is that it seemed like it would force an action one way or the other. Either Sheffield would respond and show he was okay and get rolling. Or he’d show that he’s not healthy finally prompting what seems to be an inevitable trip to the DL.
But instead we have a player who can’t take warmup tosses between innings and who by his own admission is restricted in his swing and that he “isn’t getting to certain pitches I’d like.”
Now let’s take a step back and look at Sheffield’s recent performance with the nice OBP and empty slugging percentage. In Leyland’s post game presser after Tuesday’s loss he said it’s nice that the Tigers have a good OBP, but he likes slugging and bringing runners around. And yet he continues to trot out a player who admits he can’t drive the ball, who Leyland recognizes can’t drive the ball.
This is bizarre, befuddling, and downright stupid. I understand that Leyland has respect for Sheffield and is trying to do what he can to get him going. But a quarter season of on the job rehab isn’t helping Sheffield and it isn’t helping the Tigers. DL him now. Call up Jeff Larish or Mike Hessman. Larish is left handed and is entirely capable of slugging. Hessman is right handed but can play a couple positions and is entirely capable of slugging. But don’t carry a player who is only capable of playing once a series.
Shoulder relegates Sheffield to the DH