Sheff to the Mets, Ichiro to the DL

April, 3, 2009
Couple of big names in the news this afternoon:

• It appears Gary Sheffield will, in fact, get the chance to hit his 500th home run in the majors after all. And Dwight Gooden's nephew will get to do it with the New York Mets. Sheff might not make the Hall of Fame (for various reasons), but he will try to win a place in the hearts of Mets fans and New York writers. A week after getting the ax from the Tigers, Sheffield has a home.

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Marlon Anderson figures to be cut in the wake of Sheffield's signing for the veteran's minimum (the Tigers will pay the remainder of his $14 million salary), and Ryan Church could see some of his playing time diminish. While sources initially told the New York Post that Sheffield will be used as a right-handed pinch hitter, I have to imagine there's a decent chance Church could sit against some lefties, and Sheffield could get some starts.

Does that mean you should consider Sheffield for your fantasy team? In any but the deepest mixed league, absolutely not. It's hard to see where more than, say, 200 at-bats come from in the Mets' lineup, and then there's the not-so-small matter that Sheff hit .225 last season and .178 this spring. In a deeper NL-only league, though, the option of using Sheffield as a late-round flier makes sense. After all, he'll be swinging for the fences to put some distance between himself and No. 500, and home runs are home runs. Just don't expect a ton of 'em.

• The Mariners announced Friday that Ichiro Suzuki's lightheadedness and dizziness over the past few days is related to a bleeding ulcer, and that he will be placed on the 15-day disabled list and miss the start of the regular season. He's expected to miss only the first week of the season (his DL stint will be retroactive to March 31), but it's still a bit of a stink sandwich for his new fantasy owners. This is the first DL stint of the venerable outfielder's career.

Ichiro SuzukiPeter G. Aiken/US PresswireIchiro Suzuki is headed to the disabled list for the first time in his major league career.
In his place, it's possible that Wladimir Balentien could get a few starts in right field, but I wouldn't be surprised to see Ken Griffey Jr. play the field for a week to say hello to his old fans in Seattle, whereupon a combination of Chris Burke and/or Mike Sweeney could DH.

The biggest question here is, if you're drafting this weekend, should you stay away from Suzuki? I think it would be foolhardy not to drop him a little bit in your rankings, if only because you're getting about eight games fewer than you expected from him over the course of the season. But I'm not taking him completely off the board. The M's seemed to waver about even making this move at all but decided that since it was a borderline call, and since team doctors thought a week's worth of down time would help recover from his fatigue, they played it safe. Then again, what you don't want to happen is to see Suzuki's speed begin to leave him around July, because if you're drafting him in, say, the second round of a mixed league, you're counting on him for a ton of steals. (Note: I'm apparently doing a bit of wavering myself.) I can see holding off on Ichiro until late in the third round of a mixed draft, to be safe, but if your league mates are all still petrified of the guy, I'd still grab him. I don't see a massive drop in his stats as a result of this news.



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