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Saturday, March 06, 2010

Jenkins: Ben Sheets’ tenacity is no joking matter

Hollis Green and gold…

Behind all the levity, such an integral part of Sheets’ personality, lies a fierce work ethic and considerable patience. A lot of pitchers find themselves out of work, or needing some serious adjustments, after the type of surgery (torn flexor tendon) he endured. To me, Sheets’ most telling comment Friday concerned his willingness to pitch through the 2008 stretch drive despite knowing that his arm, as they say, was falling off.

Asked if he thought the Brewers would have handled him differently in retrospect, he said, “They couldn’t have handled me differently. I was on the bump (mound) - I wasn’t taking myself out of there. If I could go back, I wouldn’t change a thing. I’d go out there and be willing to blow my arm out again.”

This is something too few people understand. Every time a pitcher gets hurt - at least in modern times, in the paranoia over pitch counts - it’s the manager’s fault. The pitching coach’s fault. Has to be somebody’s fault. Dusty Baker, as sensitive to a player’s plight as any manager in the game, still hears from horribly unenlightened critics who believe he carelessly blew out arms on the Giants, Cubs and now the Reds.

It’s competition, folks. It’s a strong-willed athlete who would do anything to take the mound. It’s a manager with faith, and the good sense to ride the hot hand. It’s Robb Nen, Kerry Wood, Ben Sheets. The injuries come, or maybe they don’t, but the operative phrase is “Let’s go,” not “Jeez, I’m pretty worried.”

Repoz Posted: March 06, 2010 at 01:13 PM | 9 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: athletics, sabermetrics

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   1. GregQ Posted: March 06, 2010 at 03:49 PM (#3473898)
Yeah because they do not want a long term career. Jenkins believes that all of the A's pitchers that never recovered from Billy Martin's reign preferred having a few winning seasons rather than a long successful career.
   2. joker24 Posted: March 06, 2010 at 04:24 PM (#3473917)
It's a fine line to walk in terms of pitching through pain vs. pitching your way into injury. All of these guys are pretty much dealing with damaged arms all the time.
   3. Walt Davis Posted: March 06, 2010 at 06:45 PM (#3473988)
Jenkins believes that all of the A's pitchers that never recovered from Billy Martin's reign preferred having a few winning seasons rather than a long successful career.

Athletes are weird and that is quite possibly true. Steve Stone has several times said he knew he was blowing out his arm in his Cy Young season ... and he wouldn't change a thing. If you ask Mark Prior if he regrets all those innings in 2003 and I doubt he'd say yes.

Which is why it's the MANAGER's job to get the pitcher out of there and help keep him healthy. But, in the case of managers, not only do they have much the same competitive spirit as the players but _their_ career security will be helped by taking that team all the way. If the Cubs don't have that 2003 run, Baker's probably gone one year earlier and maybe not hired later by the Reds.
   4. bobm Posted: March 06, 2010 at 08:28 PM (#3474034)
It’s competition, folks. It’s a strong-willed athlete who would do anything to take the mound.


What about the money? He's entitled to whatever he can get, but, please, let's cut out the romantic B.S.

<u>Salaries and Bonuses</u>

1999 drafted (1-10)   $ 2,450,000
2001 Milwaukee Brewers    200,000
2002 Milwaukee Brewers    290,000
2003 Milwaukee Brewers    428,000
2004 Milwaukee Brewers  2,425,000
2005 Milwaukee Brewers  6,000,000
2006 Milwaukee Brewers  9,625,000
2007 Milwaukee Brewers 11,125,000
2008 Milwaukee Brewers 12,125,000
<u>2010 Oakland Athletics 10,000,000 (plus performance bonuses: $0.5M each for 165, 175, 185, 195 IP)</u>
Career:                54,668,000


Sources: BB-REF, Cot's
   5. Walt Davis Posted: March 06, 2010 at 10:02 PM (#3474100)
Wow. I thought the Sheets contract was 1/$8 and that was pretty horrible. 1/$10 is ridiculous.
   6. jmp Posted: March 06, 2010 at 10:18 PM (#3474106)
What about the money


He didn't earn anything in 2009. Sheets could have shut down in 2008 and he would have made something in 2009. Heck, he could have accepted the Brewers arbitration offer in 2009 and made a nice check.

I don't find it at all hard to believe that Sheets really wanted to pitch in games that mattered in 2008 and was willing to experience damage to do so. Of course, helping a team get to the playoffs would have helped his pocketbook as well, but I don't know that it's safe to assume it the was the only motivation.
   7. Nasty Nate Posted: March 06, 2010 at 10:41 PM (#3474112)
If you ask Mark Prior if he regrets all those innings in 2003 and I doubt he'd say yes.


I bet he has some regrets about that last one.
   8. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: March 06, 2010 at 11:26 PM (#3474125)
Hm. I'm starting to like this Sheets fellow.

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