Not long ago, I was criticizing Jerry Manuel for batting Gary Sheffield cleanup. But that was in the days before Fernando Tatis batted cleanup.
Now the Mets desperately need Sheffield to be able to play the field and return to the cleanup spot.
Believe it or not, with Sheffield batting fourth, the Mets and Yankees will have cleanup hitters with comparable stats:
Sheffield : 156 AB, 8 HR, 26 RBI, 33 R, .276 BA, .389 OBP, .487 SLG
Rodriguez: 136 AB, 9 HR, 28 RBI, 18 R, .213 BA, .371 OBP, .456 SLG
(number going into tonight's games)
A-Rod has more homers and RBI in fewer at bats, but Sheffield is doing better overall.
Sheffield's numbers won't mean anything if he can't play the field. It's hard to believe that the Mets' injury situation could get worse. But in this case, if you sign a 40-year-old DH, you have to be prepared for him to have trouble playing the field.
Before too long, A-Rod will likely snap out of his slump. Still, at least as of today, the Mets are paying Sheffield the major league minimum to get similar production to that of the highest-paid player in history.
In the offseason, J.J. Putz was pleased to be traded from the Mariners, who lost 101 games last year, to the contending Mets.
After tonight's loss, the Mets are 35-34. Going into tonight's game, the Mariners are 35-34.