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August 01, 2006

Sheffield On First?

From the AP:

Manager Joe Torre revealed that he and hitting coach Don Mattingly -- a former All-Star first baseman -- have discussed for several months the possibility of shifting Sheffield from right field to first base. Torre said he would have broached the subject with Sheffield in June if he hadn't gone on the disabled list.

"I talked to Sheff Sunday, before he left, and just told him that there's no guarantee that this makes him odd man out just because we got a right fielder," Torre said. "We may just have to find some other thing to do. I didn't specifically say first base the other day, but we did today. He, Donnie and myself talked today. He's already working drills with Donnie."

Torre said Sheffield told him he had already ordered a first baseman's mitt.

"I think he can play that as a regular," Torre said. "I'd be very surprised if he wouldn't be able to handle the defensive part of that game. He's quick. His hands are good."


"Who is playing first base for us?" Sheffield said playfully. "If he can do it, I can do it."

It's been a dozen years since Sheffield had grounders coming at him on a regular basis. Could he make the conversion from RF to 1B at age 37?

While I don't see Sheff being a Gold Glover at 1B, I think he could do an OK job at first. In fact, if Gary has a monster return in September, and then carries the Yankees in the post-season to a ring by going something like 28 for 65 in October-play with 6 homers, and he's the World Series MVP against the Mets, I could even see Big Stein bringing him back for 2007 - and then Giambi and Sheffield would be the DH/1B combo next year in the Bronx.

Stranger option picks-up have happened in Yankeeland.

Posted by Steve Lombardi at August 1, 2006 10:44 PM


Carries the team in the playoffs with six home runs and wins the World Series MVP? Well, at least your expectations aren't too high. Does he have to cure cancer, too?

If Sheffield can prove to be a better first baseman than Giambi, which isn't that hard, then it would make sense for the Yankees to pick up his option. The lineup would be Damon-Jeter-Sheffield-A-Rod-Giambi-Posada-Matsui-Abreu-Cano (or SOMETHING like that). The lineup would simply be insane. Even if Sheff isn't great over at first, he would only have to split the time there with Giambi -- they can switch between first base and DH. The bottom line is that Sheff is a monster hitter and thirteen million isn't a bad price tag for him. And it's a nice little one-year deal.

Posted by: baileywalk [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 1, 2006 11:18 PM

That would be something, but if he is willing, 13M next year for Sheffield at first is intriguing as he could also sub in the outfield... and with no long term commitment.. it sounds very interesting to say the least...

Granted if they could sign Craig Wilson to a two year + option deal at a more reasonable price might be just as intriguing (espically since he can catch)...

Anyway, all is looking up in Yankeeland these days.

Posted by: Yu Hsing Chen [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 1, 2006 11:19 PM

No way should the Yankees even spend 2 seconds considering Wilson over Sheff. Wilson's a nice piece for the bench in a part-time role. Sheff is a potential Hall of Famer who is an amazing presence in this lineup.

You really can't overstate how important his ability to handle any flamethrower's fastball is. He changes the whole character of the lineup.

Posted by: DFLNJ [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 1, 2006 11:45 PM

I agree that Wilson is not the same player as Sheff by any stretch of the imagination, but he is a very very useful role player for a team like the Yankees. being able to man so many position with a qualified bat is a huge plus in a long season run.

of course. Cashman and crew could just show off the evil powers of the empire again by getting them both...

Posted by: Yu Hsing Chen [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 2, 2006 01:19 AM

there goes Sheff again bitching and complaining about his contract situation, making himself a nuisance in the last year of his contract. Oh wait.

Posted by: Nick from Washington Heights [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 2, 2006 01:25 AM

I like how Sheff said something about people putting words in his mouth. Just because in the past he has said things that made him sound selfish doesn't mean he is like that now. Plus, as I've said before, Sheff is the kind of guy that earns his paycheck. That's when he gets upset about money. He's out there for 150 games raking, and his employer gives him the runaround on contract status. This year, he isn't out there, and he knows the Yankees don't owe him anything.

If he can get back into the lineup and get a chance to get some ABs before October, he will be a serious threat. Since money is nothing, and 1 year is much better than signing Soriano or Lee to an 39804 year deal, I don't see a reason not to bring Sheff back. Melky might lose some PT, but it's Gary Sheffield. I think we'll survive as long as Sheff stays healthy next year. There might have to be some negotiating involved in terms of his health, but I think he's worth 13 milion. Look how excited we're getting to have him back. He's that important

Posted by: Rich [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 2, 2006 07:19 AM

Sheffield's first position in the big league's was shortstop. I would rather have Giambi at first base and Sheff at DH, since Jason has a long history of hitting better while playing the field

Posted by: RichDank [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 2, 2006 02:36 PM

DFLNJ - What role will Craig Wilson fill for the Yankees that wasn't already being filled (more than adequately) by Bernie, Melky, Guiel and Phillips?

More importantly, is anyone else PISSED about the Chacon trade? Does anyone remember how big he came up for the Yankees in August and September last year and how he saved their asses with the season on the line with a gritty, clutch performance in Game 4? And he's not Aaron Small, not some journeyman who had a good run - this guy is only 28.

Before Chacon was injured in May, he was 4-1 with a 3.68 ERA. He came back, probably still not 100 percent, and after half a dozen bad starts and a few poor outings in long relief, he's dumped. It was a terrible decision to give up on him, and in return we get a masher who swings at everything, doesn't make adjustments and kind of looks like that grumpy hick Jeff Kent. Ugh. I hate this trade.

Posted by: csp18 [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 2, 2006 03:23 PM