Sheets to put his repaired elbow to the test
Free-agent right-hander throwing before teams on Tuesday
Free-agent starter Ben Sheets will give interested teams a chance to see how healthy his right elbow really is on Tuesday, when he holds a throwing session at the University of Louisiana at Monroe, according to ESPN.com.
Sheets, who missed the entire 2009 season after undergoing surgery on the flexor tendon of that elbow last February, has drawn interest from six to 10 teams and said that his arm felt "fantastic," ESPN.com reported.
"They're going to like what they see," Sheets told the Web site regarding his approaching showcase.
One of his suitors is the Cubs, who are sure to have representatives on hand when the 31-year-old right-hander throws in front of clubs for the first time since the surgery. So are the Rangers, who tried to sign Sheets last offseason and confirmed to MLB.com they will be on hand next week.
Texas worked out a two-year agreement with Sheets a season ago, but the deal was nixed after it was determined that he would need surgery. The Rangers traded away Kevin Millwood this offseason but recently acquired Rich Harden and are looking to add more to the starting rotation.
In order for Chicago to be Sheets' next destination, he'll have to come down from his initial request, which is believed to be a two-year deal averaging $10 million to $12 million per season.
The Cubs have committed approximately $125 million for 2010, and they have eight arbitration-eligible players who will receive raises. This year's payroll was expected to reach $140 million, meaning there isn't any room to handle the amount of money Sheets reportedly seeks.
In addition, the Cubs are focused more on finding a veteran right-handed reliever than another starter, a team official told MLB.com recently.
ESPN.com also added the Mariners as a possible suitor. The Dodgers, Angels and Mets could also be a fit.
Sheets went 86-83 with a 3.72 ERA in his first eight seasons in the big leagues, winning double-digit games seven times and finishing with an ERA under 4.00 each of his past five seasons. During his last campaign, with the Brewers in '08, he went 13-9 with a 3.09 ERA in 31 starts while making $11 million.
As for his current state, Sheets told ESPN.com he's "where I need to be" in hopes of being ready for Spring Training.
"I believe I can pitch the way I used to," Sheets was quoted as saying by the Web site. "Hey, Chris Carpenter came back and was dominant. As long as I believe I can do it, that's all that matters. Watch, I'll show 'em."
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.