I know, I know. Cashman flew off to SF for yet another meeting with Cee Cee. I can’t believe I’ve spent week after week pining for the big lefty, even though his teammate, Ben M. Sheets, has been there all along, waiting in the wings for me to notice him. God, what a fool I’ve been.
If you’re wondering what the “M” in Ben’s name stands for, don’t. All that matters is that he’s adorable and he can pitch and he had a very cordial meeting with the Yankees. Joe Girardi pronounced him “impressive” and even referred to him as Bengie, which was rather endearing, if familiar.
The point is, the Yankees might make the four-time All-Star an offer and he might actually accept it and we’ll be able to fill one of our vacancies in the starting rotation at last.
In case things do get serious between us, however, I thought I’d better take a closer look at Ben M. Sheets. (Is it Michael? Mark? Martin?)
He’s cute, yes? (Manfred? Mortimer? Maurice?)
He was born on July 18th, 1978, in Baton Rouge, which would make him another “Louisiana Lightning,” like this proud Yankees pitcher.
Possessing the requisite nasty stuff, he was drafted by the Brewers and made it to the majors in 2001. Here’s where the story goes sour.
In ’01, he was hobbled by rotator cuff tendinitis.
In ’03, he was out with a respiratory infection.
In ’04, he had surgery to repair a lumbar disc herniation.
In ’05, he was diagnosed with Vestibular Neuritis, which is a severe inner ear infection that causes a lack of balance…
(I hate when that happens.)
Late in the same season, he suffered a tear to his right latissimus dorsi muscle.
In ’06, he was back on the DL with a right posterior shoulder strain and, soon after, tightness in his right pectoral muscle. (I hate that too.)
In ’07, there was your basic strained hammy, followed by a season-ending tear of a tendon in his right middle finger.
Is Ben M. Sheets merely a more talented version of this man?
“When he’s on the mound, he’s dynamite,” Girardi said of Ben M. (Milton? Maury? Moses?)
When he’s on the mound. That’s the big qualifier.
Still, there are advantages to Sheets over Sabathia.
#1) He’s thinner.
#2) He’s cheaper.
#3) He doesn’t whine about living in California. (He lives near Dallas.)
#4) He has a son named Seaver, which suggests a fondness for New York ballplayers.
#5) He is among the worst-hitting pitchers of his generation with a career slugging percentage of .085. Which means he will never get on base and, therefore, never have a freakish, Wang-type Lisfranc injury.
Oh, and he’s got spirit. Just look at the fist pump here.
Best of all, he’s not afraid to throw inside. He was suspended and fined for spinning out Aramis Ramirez, who, unfortunately charged the mound and incited a brawl.
So while Ben M. may be as fragile as glass, I’d take him for a couple of years at $30 mil. Why not? If he’ll be a Yankee, I’ll be his She-Fan.