Sheffield lashes out at media on '07 contract reports

TAMPA, Fla. -- Gary Sheffield vented his frustration Friday,
then left Legends Field upbeat about his future with the New York
Sheffield was angry over television reports about a meeting
earlier this week during which New York general manager Brian
Cashman said the team would likely pick up his $13 million option
for next season.
"The way it looked on TV, it made me look like I was 2 years
old," Sheffield said, "like I can't go into a room, be told
something and then tell you what I was told. If I come out of the
room positive, are they playing games with me or something? You're
supposed to be positive if your general manager comes out and says
there's a possibility they'll pick up your option. They don't see
no reason not to. I produced for two years. What else do you want
me to do?"
Sheffield talked to reporters after the Yankees worked out. He
also addressed the matter again after meeting with Cashman, who
sought out the right fielder after learning of his comments.
"It was best to have a sit-down and talk to each other
face-to-face," Cashman said, "make sure we understand each other.
I'm glad we did. We had a good conversation, and I walked out of
that feeling good, like I did the last time. It was something that
was important to have. Hopefully, this is all behind us and we can
go forward. There will be a time and a place for the option."
Sheffield is entering the final season of a $39 million,
three-year contract, a deal that includes a $13 million club option
for 2007.
"I've never had an organization come to me and say,
'Eventually, we're going to take care of you,"' Sheffield said.
"I've never had anyone say, 'I'm going to take care of you.' Why
shouldn't I be happy? That's a first for me in 17 years."
Yankees owner George Steinbrenner left the matter in "Cashman's
Sheffield, during his initial media session, said he would move
on if things didn't work out.
"I don't want anybody to take my kindness as a weakness,"
Sheffield said. "Like I said before, this is where I want to be,
but don't test me. It never was a done deal. It was a possibility.
I'm happy about that. But there's two sides to that. On one side, I
trust you, but don't play me. I don't care who it is, if it's the
Boss, if it's him, don't play me. There are plenty of other teams
out there that want my services ... that's the bottom line."
Sheffield has been at times uneasy in the past during the final
seasons of contracts.
"This is how it happened in L.A.," he said "They wanted to
sign me to an extension. I didn't go to them, but when I didn't
want to go through with it, I'm the bad guy, the greedy guy. In a
war of words, like with the Dodgers, nobody wins. I'm not going
there anymore. Just tear up the whole damn contract, send me
somewhere else, do whatever you want. It doesn't matter. I'm sick
of it."
There is no timetable for when the option might be picked up.
"When it's done, that's the right time," Sheffield said.
"When it happens, I'm sure it will catch me off-guard and I'll be
happy. And if it doesn't happen, I'll have to do what I have to do.
I just want to put on the uniform and do what I do. It's the fans
that make me play the way I play. When I get the energy out of
right field, especially in the Yankees uniform, those fans make me
do what I do. I couldn't have played with one arm in Colorado. You
can't motivate me enough to do that. Only the Yankees fans bring
that out of me."