I will not title this post “Shef is cooking”

So maybe adding Gary Sheffield to the lineup won’t disrupt chemistry. Maybe the winning streak coinciding with Sheffield on the DL was coincidence and maybe he isn’t a cancer. And just maybe, the guy can still play.

I was amazed at the number of people who thought there was causation in that Sheffield being on the DL caused the team to play better. That it caused the rest of the offense to perform. That removing the DH from the bench helped the fielders field better and the pitchers pitch better. The team went 3-6 in the first 9 games when Sheffield hit the DL, but many forgot that.

Yes the team went 15-9 in Sheffield’s absence. They also went 10-4 when Clete Thomas was on the DL. They are 14-5 since Ramon Santiago hit the DL and and 14-4 since they lost Jeremy Bonderman. Not to mention the fact that Sheffield was with the team for the long homestand, just not playing. Yet it was Sheffield who was the problem?

Meanwhile in the 3 games since he returned he’s boosted his average by 21 points and his slugging percentage by 58 points. And it hasn’t been inconsequential bolstering of stats. Sheffield has add .605 WPA the last 3 games. In WPA terms .500 is a win. So in 3 games Sheffield has added over a wins worth of win probability.

He’s teamed up with Clete Thomas to become a dynamic late inning duo.

(Doesn’t Clete and Shef scream TV show? Here’s the pitch. It’s a buddy show. It’s a comedy A grizzled African American playing in the twilight of a Hall of Fame career takes a doe-eyed white rookie from Florida under his wing. The veteran isn’t afraid to speak his mind and the rookie doesn’t care. He’s just happy to be there. By day they fight crime while trying to stay out of the crusty old captain’s doghouse. By night they fight interleague opponents and crush their spirits with late inning heroics while trying to stay out of their crusty old manager’s doghouse. Think of it as a Silk Stalkings without any women and more baseball.

In the pilot episode the two investigate a philandering city official and a scandal that could rock city hall. Clete and The Sheff start to get pressured by the mayor’s office to drop the case. But that’s nothing compared to the pressure they experience later that night when the two come up with the scored tied in the bottom of the 9th inning. Can they get the collar? Can they get the win?

Tune in to see Clete set the table and the Sheff clear the dishes.

On the next episode of Clete and the Sheff, everything is left up to Sheff. With the game in the balance can the Sheff take matters into his own hands and stave of disaster [yes]. Can Clete deliver on a promise he made to the Sheff long ago that if he came up with the bases loaded he’d take the walk[yes]. Tune in and find out what happens to Clete and the Sheff next week.)

Joe Posnanski’s blog taught me how to go on tangents like that. But I digress…

What’s most encouraging is that Sheffield isn’t getting lucky with these hits. He’s smoking the ball and having smart at-bats. His 9th inning single on Wednesday night came after he tried to go the other way to advance the runner. This from a guy that is a dead pull hitter. When the ball scooted foul, the Cardinals started to pound him inside and he worked a 0-1 count to a 3 ball count before ripping a single up the middle. Today he had to homer in the 9th inning to keep hopes alive. If it didn’t get it done, it wasn’t getting done.

What’s discouraging is that 3 weeks on the DL seemed to give his shoulder enough time to rest and allow him to become effective again. If only those 3 weeks had come earlier in the year…I don’t know what would have happened. Maybe it was the additional 3 weeks post surgery that helped, or maybe it was the 3 weeks without swinging.

As for the future, or like the next game, I don’t know if this is a blip or a trend. I don’t know whether to look at Sheffield’s numbers when healthy, or when injured, or some amalgamation. A healthy Sheffield is a boon to the lineup. But in looking at the past few years the one thing we do know is that keeping Sheffield healthy is a mighty challenge and there is a decent chance that he will get injured again this season. In lieu of that let’s hope that Sheffield makes hay while he can and that he stays healthy enough to keep Detroit pressuring the leaders in the Central.

52 Comments

  1. Chris in Nashville

    June 27, 2008 at 12:39 am

    I’m giving Bilfer an “A” for effort on this post. Good stuff man.

    I thought Sheff was going to get hot in May like he did last year, but when he didn’t and just flat out looked like he couldn’t get around on even a mediocre fast ball, I thought he might be done. Simply because of the injuries.

    But he was starting to get hot right before the oblique injury and I think that getting this rest actually helped his whole body out. Now he’s getting around on those fastballs and looks like the Sheff of May/June last year. Hopefully he can keep it up and this show can get picked up for another season.

  2. Ian C.

    June 27, 2008 at 12:45 am

    Think of it as a Silk Stalkings without any women and more baseball.”

    All right, you sold me there! I can get behind this! It’ll be like watching… baseball.

    But a show like that would have a hell of a theme song.

  3. Joel in Seattle

    June 27, 2008 at 1:03 am

    Agreed, Bilfer. It’s obvious that the cancer was Ramon Santiago…

    Speaking of cancer, Shawn Chacon’s on the market!

  4. Mike R

    June 27, 2008 at 1:55 am

    I haven’t been around much for this series but I hope I never came across as one that thought this team was better without Sheffield. When he’s right, he’s got the best plate discipline on the club and is one of the 3 best hitters and maybe the best slugger (just because Cabrera’s down and Thames K’s too much). However, I had been advocating that he get DL’d because the Sheffield of this April is not the 07 version where he was just slumping — his shoulder was in pain. And I would not be surprised if that’s something that will flare up again come late July or Mid-August. I don’t think that shoulder will be 100% baseball healthy anymore.

    But it’s so good to see him hitting.

  5. Joey C.

    June 27, 2008 at 2:20 am

    Yeah and Bill Simmons taught him.

  6. Sean C. in Illinois

    June 27, 2008 at 5:33 am

    I will title this post “Billfer is cooking.”

    I’m assuming Billfer is referring to comments he’s heard from Tigers fans in general on the “Sheffield absence causation factor.” I can’t recall anyone here seriously advancing this theory. As mentioned, any number of coincidental things can be correlated with Detroit Tigers wins and losses, including the pattern of overnight lows in western Massachusetts (look it up). (Clue: See variation in readings between Amherst and Springfield.)

    No one who saw the great negative in the persistent presence of a non-hitting Sheffield in the lineup can doubt the great positive of having the Sheffield “we paid for’ back. Put this last series back in April or May, and the Tigers are swept for lack of that one extra bat that can stand and deliver.

    I hope Sheffield will stay healthy but not completely free of “disease.” It’s not like me to wish others ill, but I am hoping he will come down with a bad case of pennant fever, characterized by symptoms of obsessive desire to play in at least one more World Series, and that he stays afflicted until a temporary rest cure is prescribed in November.

    Who’s Bill Simmons?

  7. billfer

    June 27, 2008 at 7:11 am

    Sean – It wasn’t so much people here. But it was something I saw often on message boards and heard on sports talk.

  8. Tbone

    June 27, 2008 at 7:15 am

    “A win’s worth of win probability” – that’s geeky stat goodness right there.

    And Silk Stalkings without the women?? Dude, that’s just wrong.

  9. Jeff

    June 27, 2008 at 8:03 am

    Great post.

    I think there’s a clear trend in Detroit and likely in other cities that when a team isn’t doing well, fans identify the highest paid player who’s underperforming and turn him into the devil figure. Cabrera caught it earlier this year (and given his at-bats of late might start catching it again), Dontrelle got it for a bit, but most of this year it’s been Sheffield who is the topic du jour.

    Put it this way, suppose the Tigers didn’t have Sheffield and a much lower-paid Thames was filling that spot. And suppose Thames had the struggles Sheffield had. He’d be way down the list as far as scapegoats because he’s not a highly-paid name player.

    It reminds me of Lions fans who blame the quarterback for every problem with the other 21 starting positions. Or Red Wings fans who blame the goalie for every problem. It’s just easier for the lazy fan to identify the scapegoat and fill the airwaves with rants about the guy.

  10. Kyle J

    June 27, 2008 at 8:14 am

    Excellent channeling of your inner Posnanski.

  11. David G.

    June 27, 2008 at 8:28 am

    How bout we put Cabrera on the DL? (Kidding, Bilfer, don’t file this away to use against me a month from now when he finally gets rolling).

  12. scotsw

    June 27, 2008 at 8:58 am

    From the memory hole… Rescued from the comments on an old discussion here…

    # scotsw:
    May 7th, 2008 at 9:00 am

    Reality check.

    If Gary Sheffield were a 33-year-old future HOFer, and coming off major shoulder surgery, we’d all be impressed that he was fighting to get back into game shape, trying mightily to contribute to this team, working hard to right this ship. And we wouldn’t even be surprised by his sub-.200 batting average at this point. Give the man a chance to get his groove back — it’s only May 6, for heaven’s sake. David Ortiz is only hitting .225 at this point.

    I’ve been watching Sheff’s swing, and folks, it does NOT look to me like he’s lost much velocity. It looks to me like he’s upper-cutting a bit, and he doesn’t have his timing down yet. But rather than being slow, he’s hitting a lot of fouls to LEFT. In all seriousness, I’m very, very tired of reading and hearing form fans (mostly not doctors) about how Gary’s “done”. His doctors and the coaches obviously don’t think so, and he’s reporting no pain and pretty good range of movement. It’s still reasonable to hope he may hit 30 HRs this year, and I’d expect about 25, over about 100 more games.

    And please quit bitching about his contract. It’s not your money.

    EDIT: 2 more quick points: Sheff’s arm looked fine to me last night. You might not have seen this on TV, but after a liner to left, he threw a one-hopper on a dime to first base to keep the runner honest. And second, he’s 39, not 41.

  13. scotsw

    June 27, 2008 at 9:02 am

    So now, let’s have a little talk about management and the training staff…

    Why didn’t anybody sit Gary down in SPRING TRAINING and test him thoroughly? Why wasn’t Gary on a strengthening program until April (he admitted he hadn’t been rehabbing correctly several weeks ago)? Why was Gary playing before May 1 in the first place — what was the big rush?

    He should have been benched and rested long ago and just told to heal some more.

    The problem was never his skill — it was always his health. Injury is NOT the same as decline (though it can contribute to decline). But even 39-year-old guys heal.

    Welcome Back, Gary… I never said you was done, old man.

  14. jason

    June 27, 2008 at 9:04 am

    The difference is, now shef is hitting. Before he wasn’t.

  15. scotsw

    June 27, 2008 at 9:05 am

    Jeff:

    I don’t know where it comes from, but when someone gets it just right, one of my favorite expressions is, “Dead nuts.”

    So, to your comment, I say: “Dead nuts”

  16. ron

    June 27, 2008 at 9:29 am

    Bilfer do more tangents. Sean, coincidental, I don’t think so. That low pressure theory needs more study.Lazy fans who rant and rave built this great country of ours. They’re just too tired when they get home to do the intensive research needed to get to the root cause of a team’s problems. It’s easier to pick up the phone and complain about the guy who touched the puck or ball last. Without them, there would be no stadiums or arenas to play in. Lazy, no. Stupid, insensitive, boorish, wrong side of the tracks, white trash, 8 mile rd., yes. But not lazy.

  17. judpma

    June 27, 2008 at 9:30 am

    Great post Billfer…
    When you hear Sheff’s teammates talk about him..very very few from all the teams he has played for say he is not a great teammate…for the most part they like him both in the clubhouse and on the field….but i also agree with Jason…before he was not hitting and now he is …big difference as far as the Tigers team is concerned

    We as fans , me included, sometimes feel like it is our money he is being paid, and we should get quite a return if we are going to pay him a gazzillion dollars

    And last but not least the winning and losing of games has very little to do with one player. In April and May there were so many problems Sheff was only a small part of the sum of all those problems. It is great to see him back though and playing like we know he is capable of playing

  18. ron

    June 27, 2008 at 9:36 am

    Jason, right on.

  19. ron

    June 27, 2008 at 9:43 am

    We’re a very empathetic lot. It’s someone’s money being wasted at times. Doesn’t a couple of pennies of that hot dog make it’s way into Mr. Sheffield’s bank account somehow? Probably quicker than a Verlander fastball.

  20. Kathy

    June 27, 2008 at 9:44 am

    Very good, Billfer. But you gotta admit, he did come back with all his utensals.

  21. West Coast Tiger

    June 27, 2008 at 10:01 am

    I think that you never know how sick you are until you get better. When you’ve ha e the flu, you wake up one day and you feel great and say wow it’s nice to feel good again. Let’s hope that is the case with Gary. His swing looks different. It seems longer.

    He was bringing the team down. Where he was in the order, producing zero was a downer, and this was allowing pitchers to be more careful with Mags especially with Miggs numbers down. I have to believe Mags improved numbers had something to do with a threat like Guillen ahead of him.

  22. tiff

    June 27, 2008 at 10:21 am

    Great post. I would watch that show, although it reminds me a lot of Training Day, without all the crooked cop stuff.

  23. greg

    June 27, 2008 at 11:19 am

    Billfer – agree 100% with everything in this post. And an amen to scotsw.

  24. Eric Cioe

    June 27, 2008 at 11:52 am

    I’ve always been a holdout on forums. My line has been: A healthy Gary Sheffield can carry this team to October. Without him the last two nights, the Tigers wouldn’t have won/would have had a lot harder time doing it. That’s the stuff I’m talking about. He has a skill set that no one else on the team has – power, walks, baserunning. The closest to it is Guillen, and he doesn’t have the power of Sheff, nor the eye, nor the baserunning skills to the same degree. I guess Granderson is also this style of player.

  25. Sean C. in Illinois

    June 27, 2008 at 12:29 pm

    “I guess Granderson is also this style of player.”

    I agree. Granderson might be the Sheffield the Tigers get to keep.

  26. Jeff

    June 27, 2008 at 1:13 pm

    I don’t know where it comes from, but when someone gets it just right, one of my favorite expressions is, “Dead nuts.”

    Back atcha, scotsw. Nice post from earlier this year too. If Shef keeps this up, well, Rod Allen’s going to have to bring back last year’s line, “Mommy, make them stop!!!”

  27. Anne

    June 27, 2008 at 1:57 pm

    Mega-million $$$ player salaries = higher ticket and concession prices. So, at least in some regard, it kind of is our money.

    And cancer? Cancer holds no terror for Jim Leyland! Jim Leyland laughs in the face of cancer! Or he will, when he quits hacking and puts down his cigarette. :)

  28. Chief Monday

    June 27, 2008 at 2:25 pm

    West Coast Tiger: “He was bringing the team down. Where he was in the order, producing zero was a downer, and this was allowing pitchers to be more careful with Mags especially with Miggs numbers down. I have to believe Mags improved numbers had something to do with a threat like Guillen ahead of him.”

    I hate it when people like you make such terrible assumptions.

    It’s ridiculous to say that Sheff ever brought the whole team down. Absolutely Inane. So are you telling me that Maggs struggled last season too when Sheff wasn’t producing? Just look at the stats from last year and they’ll tell you something else. Maggs was still raking last season..

    BTW, Guillen hasn’t done much better batting 3rd either.
    He has a .346 OBP and a .717 OPS batting 3rd this season. That’s just a tiny bit better as what Sheff was doing.
    Sheff had .328 OBP and a .661 OPS batting 3rd this season.

  29. judpma

    June 27, 2008 at 2:42 pm

    the two big Achilles heals this year are
    1. The third spot in the batting order
    2. Runner on third less that two outs
    ……………….saying that I am not sure what an Achilles heal is ..but i do know #1 and 2 are problems, with #2 being monumental

  30. Chief Monday

    June 27, 2008 at 3:01 pm

    Poor Pitching and defense are the things that negatively impact a team the most.

  31. tiff

    June 27, 2008 at 4:27 pm

    not scoring more runs than the opponent is a recipe for a loss.

  32. Chris in Dallas

    June 27, 2008 at 4:33 pm

    tiff: I see that you have been reading my oft quoted stat that the Tigers are 38-0 when outscoring their opponent.

  33. Sean C. in Illinois

    June 27, 2008 at 5:41 pm

    “Tigers are 38-0 when outscoring their opponent’

    He stole that from me. He steals all my stats and factoids, then hacks into the site and either deletes my posts or, in the case of really funny ones, puts his name on them.

  34. Sean C. in Illinois

    June 27, 2008 at 6:04 pm

    “That’s just a tiny bit better as what Sheff was doing”

    Not to prolong the whole Sheff thing – he’s back, he’s hitting, we love him – but the difference between a .662 and .717 OPS is hardly “tiny.” Especially when the .662 is more from walks than hits and involves an exceedingly poor RBI/PA ratio. Brandon Inge has a .728 OPS. And it’s gone down lately.

    Also, Chief, people are more inclined to listen when you don’t preface what you have to say with “I hate it when people like you…” Gary Sheffield is aloof to and immune to our criticism or praise. West Coast Tiger is, as far as I can tell, a real person who you’re in more real contact with already than you’ll ever be in with Sheff. Maybe you could be just a little more objective about Gary Sheffield.

  35. West Coast Tiger

    June 27, 2008 at 6:54 pm

    Chief Monday

    I may have been too strong in my use of words. All we have heard the last 2 years is Having Sheff batting 3rd has created opportunities for the middle of the line up. With him cold out of the box it did change how the Tigers were pitched to, and limited RBI opportunities for Mags. Let me say one guy doesn’t make or break the team. You can point at several guys who were under performing and still are, as well as guys who have really stepped it up.

    The main point I was trying to make is the following, Sheff is one of the many spark plugs on this team. Having an “obviously” fouled plug in the engine is going to make for poor performance.

    If he stay’s healthy he will bring it the rest of the season.

    When do we start the count down to 500 HR, I’ll do it now. 15 and counting. Another point do you think ESPN make as big a deal about Sheff’s milestone as they have for other’s this year. ie Manny

    He should pass Lou Gehrig and Fred McGriff (493 each) for sure.

  36. ez

    June 27, 2008 at 10:33 pm

    There has been an awful lot of crowing with regard to Sheffield over two games since he has been back. Much of it from Saberheads who make much of sample size. Yep, he helped us the last 2 games. Actually two out of three since he did little tonight.

    There is a point that remains: Sheffield has not been healthy consistantly in the last three years. He missed major time in his last year in NY, missed much of last season, and has been hurt and underproducing for much of this season, the last two games being more the anamoly than the rule. No one says he is not a unique talent, he is. But he is also pushing 40 and has been more knocked up than Britney Spears.

    Enjoy your crowing, because given his health history over the last 3 years you may be eating that crow in a short time.

    Hey, I hope he produces and keeps the race baiting comments to a minimum. Let’s win some games and make the playoffs. Go Gary!

    But two decent games in as many months does not a comeback player of the year make.

  37. Sean C. in Illinois

    June 27, 2008 at 11:02 pm

    ez, I like the balance you provide on Sheffield, but here’s my view on eating crow: That he “might well be” injured again is along the same lines as “he might well have” hit better in April and May if he’d been fully recovered and ready to go. He’s not a prospect or a rookie, so he is what he does for the team, in actual performance measured by game, series, or season, like any other veteran. I’m not eating crow now because I thought that he stunk early on, and I won’t be eating crow for singing his praises while he earns them, no matter what happens later.

  38. billfer

    June 27, 2008 at 11:12 pm

    ez – You mean Sheffield’s not going to stay healthy the rest of the year?! I thought he was fine now!

    I guess I don’t worry too much about eating crow. Being right doesn’t matter to me as much as seeing the team win. Plus, I thought I addressed the sample size and injury risks with this paragraph:

    As for the future, or like the next game, I don’t know if this is a blip or a trend. I don’t know whether to look at Sheffield’s numbers when healthy, or when injured, or some amalgamation. A healthy Sheffield is a boon to the lineup. But in looking at the past few years the one thing we do know is that keeping Sheffield healthy is a mighty challenge and there is a decent chance that he will get injured again this season. In lieu of that let’s hope that Sheffield makes hay while he can and that he stays healthy enough to keep Detroit pressuring the leaders in the Central.

    Oh, and it’s 3 decent games – not 2.

  39. judpma

    June 28, 2008 at 1:13 am

    plus one half of the Dynamic Duo carried them both tonight…go clete……

  40. ez

    June 30, 2008 at 10:57 am

    Bilfer,

    Obviously we both want the team to win. It seemed to me that many, more than just you, were quick to jump on the Sheffield bandwagon and after only 2-3 games being back.

    I spent the weekend on Lake Michigan without meaningful communication. I found out that the Tigers swept via a couple of brief cell phone conversations.

    Today I see Sheffield’s line: 0-11 with about that many left on base. Yet we won all three games? Hmm, we continue to win even when Gary isn’t there, or isn’t producing.

    For the season he is batting .215 or there about.

    He had two decent games, yes, or three decent games as you so gleefully pointed out.

    Since he has been back he is hitting .250 (5-20) with 4k’s, 19 LOB (!), 1 BB, 2 RBI’s, and 1 homer. I am sure Sheffield is cooking, but I’ll pass on the Roman Noodles he is trying to pass off as Gourmet food.

    On the whole, he still is underproducing. Let’s hope he puts up numbers that he is capable of… But right now he isn’t doing that. Before or after his trip to the DL.

    We want to win, but if Sheffield is going to continue to hit at a .220 rate one has to question his value at DH…

  41. Ryan P

    June 30, 2008 at 11:44 am

    Ramen Noodles.

  42. Chris in Dallas

    June 30, 2008 at 12:06 pm

    Yeah Sheffield’s BA isn’t exactly wonderful. At least when he’s not hitting he’s still getting on base at a (slightly) above average clip, though (.335). And you can’t discount the fact that he nearly single-handedly accounted for two wins in the past week. He should be OK for the second half. They’ll need it over the next couple weeks with no Magglio.

  43. ez

    June 30, 2008 at 12:34 pm

    Ryan,

    Thanks for the correction. I don’t eat that crap and so am not overly educated about it’s correct spelling. Nor do I care about it. I am, however, very concerned with the output of our DH, which probably the thing we ought to be focusing on.

    Chris,

    We both hope he is at least “ok” for the rest of the season. Maybe we should define what our particular definition of “ok” is… I think we both agree that with Maggs out we need him to be much more than “ok” for the next couple of weeks… I’ll gladly take last years June, but that might be asking for too much. Frankly, we need him to turn it up another notch (or several notches) from what he has done since his return…

    Yes, he was huge in two games, but that is only two games. Viewing those two games over the course of a season greatly delutes their meaning. However, better those two than none at all!

    We need more than Sheff has shown this year (and since his return) and it needs to start with this series. My opinion only.

  44. Dave BW

    June 30, 2008 at 12:53 pm

    ez –

    Knowing how to spell something would not make one “overly educated” about it. I’m not sure why people on the internet get so defensive about spelling/grammar corrections — just learn from it and move on! No big deal.

    But I agree with your thoughts about Sheffield.

  45. Ryan P

    June 30, 2008 at 12:58 pm

    Sorry, just thought you might want to know what they are called before someone called you an idiot over “roman noodles”. Good day.

  46. Dave BW

    June 30, 2008 at 1:04 pm

    Yesterday I saw someone on the ESPN boards (*shiver*) write “all faucets of the game”. That was just tragic.

  47. Chris in Dallas

    June 30, 2008 at 1:37 pm

    lol faucets of the game. Maybe that’s why they’ve been ‘showering’ us with wins lately?

    ez: If Sheffield hits .275/.350/.450, that would be my definition of ‘OK’, and I think that’s a fairly reasonable expectation. Anyway, two wins is ‘only’ two wins, but they all matter. Many a division race has come down to one or two games at the end.

  48. ez

    June 30, 2008 at 2:12 pm

    Chris,

    I too would find the numbers you list as being “ok”…. I think that definition of “ok” would work over the course of the rest of the year. In order to get to that level of “ok-ness” he would need to light it up considerably for a fairly extended peroid of time (meaning he would need to bat 50 points above .275 for 160 AB’s or so just to get to our agreed upon ‘ok’)… He is at .219 right now after 160 AB’s…. Man, wouldn’t it be lovely if he went on that requisite tear over Magg’s DL time?

    I see your point on ‘we need every game, so the those last two were super.’ theory…. The problem is that while he won us those two his numbers, particularly his early numbers, tell me he cost us many more games earlier in the season. In order to make up for his early ‘suckness’ we need more greatness.

    As for anyone who argues to the effect “Gary sucked early but so did Polanco, Willis, Grilli, just about everyone but Maggs”… Well, we are speaking about Sheffield. Just because other players sucked early on does not give Gary free reign to suck less.

    I think we all demand/expect/hope for more out of Gary. Question is we get it? My original point remains: He hasn’t met our expectations. He has been hurt for most of the last 3 years. He had two (ok for Bilfer’s sake, three) good games since his return. It is too early to say that ‘Gary’s back and good as new’ or something to that effect… He had a couple of good games followed by a weekend of Total And Complete Nothingness. I just don’t see that Gary has been cooking…

    Time will tell.

  49. Chris in Dallas

    June 30, 2008 at 3:17 pm

    Your last statement of ‘time will tell’ of course is the key. We don’t know what the guy will do. By the way, my ‘OK-ness’ numbers were from this point forward, not his final numbers for the season. I don’t think Sheffield will ever be a .300/.400/.550 type guy again, but if he can be like 80% of that it should be all the Tigers need, given the talent that they have throughout the order (Grandy, Polanco, Cabrera, Guillen etc.)

  50. ez

    June 30, 2008 at 4:23 pm

    Chris,

    We are close to agreement, but I want a little more out of Sheffield than that. If he hit that line for the season, then SUPER!

    But I would expect him to be better than blending your stats with his stats to date over the course of this season and its remainder. That, for me, would be sub-ok. Now there is a new term……..

    Hey, let’s just start with a sound thrashing of those *$*&$^#% Twins.

  51. Chris in Dallas

    June 30, 2008 at 5:24 pm

    Agreed. I hate the effing Twins. 1987 still grinds my gears.

  52. rings

    July 1, 2008 at 11:45 am

    Chris – I couldn’t agree more. I HATE the Twins more than any other professional franchise, primarily because of 1987, which I believe has cost Trammell and Morris both the Hall of Fame (note: Kirby is in).

    EZ – once again you are providing balance to the self-congratulations of Sheffield’s return. I’m with you: for $41m and the “feared big stick in the middle of our order” that was touted upon his acquisition, he’s not even come close to filling that role.
    He WAS a great player and he’s had a great career, but he’s not any more and I doubt he ever will be again, save a few flashes of the past. Every time someone criticizes his performance, his defenders cite “he walks a lot” as somehow justifying his incredible lack of production from the three-hole. The fact of the matter is – and one can quibble around the point all they want – even his hot streak last year included (everyone has hot streaks), Sheffield has been a disappointment. And it sounds to me like much of his defenders are engaging in wishful thinking: “I wish he were always healthy” and “I wish he was hot,” etc.
    I don’t mind him so much at 7th in the order (not so many GDP’s there). Hopefully, management (and many of us), have realized that he is not the same Sheffield of 2005 and earlier. Whatever we can get from him is fine, but I’d prefer to see it as a part-time role balanced with “days off” for other regulars at the DH spot and some swings for the younger players.

    Spelling – an occasional misspelling or grammatical error aside, it makes threads and thoughts much easier to follow if the writer at least pays a little attention to it. This site is far better than most (and regularly contains more thoughtful discussion than most – a credit to our host, I’m sure), but it is painful to try and decipher the gibberish one sometimes sees on many other message boards.