It seemed that after the Marlon Byrd signing, there would be very little that we could speculate about the Cubs roster that would amount to much. There is no way they can get in on the Matt Holliday negotiations, they seem content with going with Theriot and Baker/Fontenot up the middle with Starlin Castro as a dark horse, they are supposedly still interested in signing another reliever, but it won't be anyone of any real consequence.
So they are pretty much done with this off-season, right? Just a few t's to cross and lower-case j's to dot and Hendry can relax in his efforts to play with the roster this winter and start working out trades he can make as the deadline approaches.
Not so fast, says FOX's Ken Rosenthal. He predicts that Ben Sheets, most recently of the 2008 Milwaukee Brewers, will sign with the Cubs. This would be very exciting news if I had any belief at all that it could or would happen. First, Rosenthal is making this prediction using faulty logic. He says,
"He still makes the most sense for a high-revenue club that can absorb the risk, but the Yankees and Red Sox do not figure to spend more on starting pitching."
I'll agree that a higher revenue club makes the most sense to take the risk, but he eliminates the Yankees and Red Sox because they probably won't spend more on starting pitching. OK, but what makes him think the Cubs will spend more on starting pitching? Last I checked, the Cubs had spent the money they got from the Mariners on Marlon Byrd and they gave $7.5 million to John Grabow. The payroll isn't supposed to increase this season because Ricketts has a crapload of debt he needs to start paying down. How is there room for signing a starter, much less a starter of Ben Sheets' talents?
For someone who doesn't like bloggers sitting in their mothers' basements making stuff up to post online, this "prediction" seems pretty unfounded and unlikely.
I think most people would agree that Ben Sheets would make an excellent addition to the Cubs' rotation if he was healthy. I think we can also all agree that the Cubs can not afford to sign him at a rate he would go for if he hadn't just spent all of last year recovering from elbow surgery.
Right now Sheets' agent is supposedly looking for guaranteed money and the Daily Herald's Bruce Miles doesn't believe that is going to happen with the Cubs and goes on to say:
"If Sheets hasn't signed with somebody, say, by Valentine's Day, I can see the Cubs offering some sort of a deal with a low base plus incentives."
Of course, if Sheets hasn't signed by Valentine's Day, and is open to talking about incentive-based deals, then why would the Cubs suddenly be the front-runners to land him? There are probably any number of teams that would love to have Sheets at a low base price and would have no qualms in paying out his incentives as he met them.
Rosenthal needed to pick a team for Sheets to land with and he picked the Cubs. That's pretty much all that means.
Though just to be safe, Hendry is probably being physically restrained from slapping a guaranteed three year deal down in front of Ben.