Wednesday, April 1, 2009
Agent: Teams looking at Sheffield
ESPN.com news services
Gary Sheffield doesn't expect to be out of work for long.
Rufus Williams, agent for Sheffield, told ESPN's Buster Olney on Wednesday that there are "a number of teams that are expressing interest."
"Gary is going to be able to play this season. He is going to be able to play a couple more seasons, at least."
Sheffield was cut by the Detroit Tigers on Tuesday. Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. then said the Philadelphia Phillies had initial talks with Sheffield's camp, and he wanted to gauge whether the nine-time All-Star would be comfortable in a reserve role.
Asked if he knew for sure if Sheffield would have a starting position or would be a role player, Williams said: "I think no matter what happens, he'll have some opportunities."
"I think we'll see, we'll see how these things play out. We'll see if that is starting or coming off the bench."
Sheffield is one shy of becoming only the 25th player in major league history to have 500 home runs.
The 40-year-old Sheffield hit .178 in 18 spring training games this year. The designated hitter had eight hits, including five home runs, in 45 at-bats.
Any team can sign Sheffield for the $400,000 minimum, with Detroit paying the rest of his $14 million salary.
Williams would not say exactly how many clubs are interested in Sheffield, but he did say it was "several teams."
Sheffield is currently in the process of being waived, and Williams was not sure if he would be on a roster by Opening Day.
"I think he can, it's a question of whether he will," he said.
Besides the Phillies, some in baseball are speculating whether Sheffield would be a good fit with Braves, where he had good a experience from 2002-03 and was liked by manager Bobby Cox.
Sheffield was last an All-Star with the New York Yankees in 2005 when he hit .291 with 34 homers and 123 RBIs. He is a lifetime .292 hitter. From 1999-2005, he batted .307 and averaged 35 home runs and 110 RBIs.
In two seasons with the Tigers, however, Sheffield batted .247 and averaged 22 home runs and 66 RBIs.
Buster Olney covers baseball for ESPN The Magazine.