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Yankees Exercise Sheffield's Option

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The Yankees did the expected today and exercised Gary Sheffield's 2007 option. The option is for $13M, but a significant portion of that is deferred. Why is this important? The Indians, looking for a big bat, are apparently interested in him.

On the face of things, this makes a lot of sense. Sheffield hitting behind Travis Hafner would make an already potent offense even better. Before his injury-riddled 2006, the last time Sheffield's EQA dropped below .300 was 1993. And his non-deferred salary will be peanuts compared to what the comparable free agents will be getting. If the Indians do go after a "big bat," Sheffield and Pat Burrell should be their first and second choices because their remaining salaries are pretty affordable.

Beyond the production, though, remains Sheffield's personality, which has worn out welcomes with just about every team he's been with. Yeah, the Indians dealt with Juan Gonzalez and his "entourage" for a year, but Sheffield is a different animal, and there's a completely different set of personnel in place. There's a lot of risk that Sheffield would pout or walk away if he doesn't like the situation.

Getting Sheffield would be a "luxury" acquisition, in that the Indians don't really have to add an outfielder, but he'd certainly make the lineup better. They do, however have to improve their prospects at second base and the bullpen; trading for Sheffield must not hinder those plans.

To me, the risks of Sheffield outweigh any rewards. It'd be best to use those trading chips elsewhere, be it Ryan Garko or other prospects.