Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Tigers Release Gary Sheffield

In a shocking move this morning, the Tigers released Gary Sheffield and will thus eat his $14 million contract. I thought this might happen some time during the season but I was not expecting it today. There was a lot of talk about his being healthy and motivated early this spring but he did not have a good March and they apparently now think he is done.

The move gives the roster a lot more flexibility. It doesn't make a lot of sense to have a full-time designated hitter unless he's a premiere hitter which Sheffield has not been for a while now. My immediate reaction is that Marcus Thames would be the primary designated hitter with Jeff Larish also getting a lot of at bats but that's only one possibility.

I give Scott Warheit, the cutoff man at Mlive, a lot of credit for calling this move yesterday. He suspected that Sheffield would be released when the acquired Josh Anderson. Scott also thinks that Guillen will move to designated hitter and that Anderson will lead off and play left field. I'd be surprised if it happened quite like that but it's clear that this release opens up options that were not there before.

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