Right now, the Yankees are rumored (by the NY media) to be contemplating dealing Gary Sheffield to – gasp! – the Mets for Mike Cameron and Miguel Cairo.
Why not spare themselves the embarassment and get something of real value – a CFer AND a bona fide pitcher? Why not trade Sheff back to his old team, the Marlins, for AJ Burnett and Juan Encarnacion?
Ok, I know what some of you may be thinking – why would the Marlins make this deal? Well, the Marlins cant find a way to score runs. Their pitching isn’t that bad and actually, their statistical averages for hitting aren’t that bad either they just seem to be living and dying by Juan Pierre right now. Lowell is struggling on the whole this year. Encarnacion has been solid for the most part, but replacing his bat with Sheffield’s would be an instant upgrade to a lineup already sporting two potent bats in Delgado and the manchild, Cabrera.
The Yankees would also be getting a stud in AJ Burnett – something they need since their disappointing free agent crop of pitchers this season isn’t living up to billing.
Is this a more attractive deal to the Yankees than Cameron and Cairo? You bet. It will cost them about the same amount of money – the Marlins would obviously demand financial relief in return (Sheff is currently in the 2nd year of his 3 year $39M deal with the Yanks). The Marlins are most likely going to lose AJ and Juan – AJ will probably sign with the Yankees this offseason. Why not give him his druthers and send him there ahead of schedule? Heck, he may not like it as much as he thought and oddly, may opt to return to Florida if the deal is right.
But the fact is, a deal like this would give the Yankees what they desperately need – a CF with great range (Encarnacion can play CF very easily and has a gold glove caliber defense already in RF) and a stud pitcher that could bolster their rotation. It would cost less than Cameron and Cairo, too.
For the Marlins they would be getting the return of an old friend (from that ’97 champion team) who can flat out hit. Sheffield could man RF and give a huge lift to this anemic Marlins offense and bring us some swagger again. Sure, we lose out on AJ’s arm, but we have enough talent to mend for now. Scott Olsen is the real deal and can pitch at this level right now. You also have Al Leiter seeming to right the ship and Ismael Valdez coming back. Along with Moehler – who has pitched very well but is among the league’s worst in run support – the Marlins have enough candidates to round out the rotation and juice up the offense to make up the difference.
Why not? Get the Sheff some home cooking.