Sheffield to the Mets; huh?

“The New York Mets sign outfielder Gary Sheffield.”

Those are eight words I never thought I would hear in my lifetime, and they have been slowly eating away at my brain since I first read them this afternoon, as I tried to rationalize the deal.

I was driving on Route 17, heading south towards New York City. My phone rang loudly, signaling an incoming text message. Lo and behold, it was my inside man, A.B. Sack, informing me of, in my opinion, the Mets’ blunder.

Though contingent upon Sheffield passing a physical, all signs point toward him occupying space in rightfield for the Mets, as they begin their inaugural season of play at the newly built Citi Field.

Putting aside Sheffield’s sometimes cantankerous nature, this move makes no sense whatsoever for the Mets, other than to put paying behinds in seats with the hope that Sheffield will soon hit his 500th dinger (which he will certainly do quite soon, I would imagine).

But other than the name recognition, I can’t for the life of me understand this move by GM Omar Minaya.

Yes, Sheffield was once among the greatest players in the name. He’s a nine-time All-Star, and has led the league in batting average and total bases…17 years ago.

The Mets already had two-thirds of a stellar outfield set, with Carlos Beltran patrolling centerfield and the severely underrated Ryan Church assuming duties in right.

More than likely, young Dan Murphy would have played leftfield, and personally, I’m perplexed as to why the Mets would waste the money signing Sheffield, knowing they have a seemingly excellent option already in house.

I’ve seen Murphy play (last season at Double-A Binghamton), and was impressed then, much as I was impressed watching him play at the major league level in 49 games in 2008.

Sure, Sheff is a draw, but at 40 years of age, he’s no longer even close to the same player he once was, which is obvious, since the Detroit Tigers released him only three days ago, citing that they wanted versatility at the DH position.

Translation? Sheff doesn’t have it anymore. And furthermore, if Detroit wanted him to DH, they had obviously deemed that he was not athletic enough to monitor the outfield at Comerica Park.

How can the Mets expect him to attempt to thrive in the National League, where he will actually need to play the field, in very similar dimensions to that of Comerica.

Hopefully, this doesn’t prove to be a huge bust for the Metropolitans.

The old adage has always been “only time will tell.”

Though in fairness, time has told the story on Sheffield, and the final chapter is about to be written.


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