The New York Mets turned a few heads with their signing of Gary Sheffield.  Nobody is ever going to be luke warm about their thoughts on Gary Sheffield.  Every New York Mets fan seems to love the idea of signing Gary Sheffield or hates it. 

My guess is that a lot of the New York Mets fans are going to say that signing Gary Sheffield is a bad deal.  The main reason I say that is because Gary Sheffield’s negatives are a lot more obvious than his positives. 

1.  Gary Sheffield is disgruntled
Clearly Gary Sheffield is not the easiest player to like.  Almost every city that had Gary Sheffield was relieved when he left, and most of the time it wasn’t due to a lack of play, it was just him.  This will be Gary Sheffield’s 8th team.  Can you think of any other players that are as good as Gary Sheffield that have bounced around to 8 different teams because teams couldn’t put up with him for very long?

 Specifically I’m worried about Gary Sheffield not starting.  Supposedly the New York Mets made it very clear to Gary Sheffield what his role was going to be and it wasn’t as a starter.  But that won’t stop Gary Sheffield from being upset in month two if he feels like it. 

 2.  Gary Sheffield is old
Gary Sheffield is not an All-Star anymore.  Gary Sheffield is not even a  starter anymore.  I’m sure Gary Sheffield will still have pop in his bat from time to time but as a hitter Sheffield has seen his batting average plummet and his number of strikeouts increase.  Maybe even a bigger concern is Gary Sheffield’s defense.  In the National League the New York Mets can’t stick Sheffield in the Designated Hitter position.  Gary Shffield must take the field.

 Like I said, two glaring negatives, but there are some positives to the New York Mets signing Gary Sheffiled.

1.  Gary Sheffield was cheap. 
The New York Mets would be crazy if they paid the 14 million that the Detroit Tigers were paying Gary Sheffield, but they’re not.  Gary Sheffield is making $400,000 from the New York Mets.  For the league minimum I would be okay with the New York Mets taking a flyer on any Major League Baseball player not named Jose Lima.

2.  How good are David Murphy, Ryan Church and Fernando Tatis?  
I’m a pretty optimistic fan, otherwise I would not be making an argument for Gary Sheffield.  I think that David Murphy playing every day can be very good and I think Ryan Church will be fine.  But do I know that for certain?  Does anybody? 

 3.  Who will bat sixth in the order?
Again, optimistic over here.  I doubt Ryan Church is going to hit all season like he did for the first month last year but I do think he’s an everyday Major League starter.  That being said, the New York Mets probably need a better bat than Church batting behind Beltran/Delgado/Wright.  Either Beltran or Wright is going to find themselves stranded a lot with Church, Schneider, Castillo and the pitcher batting after them.

 4.  Gary Sheffield can hit left handed pitchers.
Gary Sheffield’s lifetime OPS against left-handed pitchers is .946 to Church’s .724.  That is a little bit deceiving because we have already established that Gary Sheffield is declining but I still like Gary Sheffield’s chances of hitting lefties more often than Church.

 5.  Phillies Counter
Before the New York Mets got involved it seemed the Philadelphia Phillies were going to get Gary Sheffield.  Maybe Gary Sheffield would be a total bust, but maybe he wouldn’t.  If Gary Sheffield doesn’t work for the Mets then at least they can take solace in the fact that their biggest competition wanted him to so it’s not like they were the only dumb team.  

 6.  500 Homeruns
The New York Mets are christening a new ballpark and what better way to do that than with a member of the 500 homerun club.  Unless Carlos Delgado has a season like 2007 he will probably make it to 500 homeruns also.

 I can understand a lot of fans’ hesitation.  The chances of Gary Sheffield not being happy are pretty good.  But I keep going back to the first item on the positives list.  Gary Sheffield, a player that is about to pass 500 career home runs, only cost the Mets $400,000.  That’s low risk, high reward.