Baby Don’t You Sign That Paper Tonight, She Said…

…because Ben Sheets’ elbow is falllling offff.

Finally, an answer to one of this winter’s most puzzling questions: Why is the National League’s All-Star Game starting pitcher still unemployed?

The answer is that free agent right-hander Ben Sheets intends to undergo surgery to repair the torn flexor tendon in his elbow, and his former employers may be asked to pick up the tab.

Well, I suppose that answers the question of why the Dodgers (a team in badly need of a quality starter) were never once linked with Sheets (a quality starter badly in need of a team). It also serves as a good reminder that for all the times we bloggers think we know better than the front office, we’re definitely lacking in one area: access. You have to think that the LA medical staff at least took a look at the records weeks ago and decided to stay clear, yet didn’t want to flat out ruin Sheets’ market by publicly saying so.

On the other hand, everytime I think that to myself, I wonder about how Jason Schmidt got here. This has to push Randy Wolf even closer to coming back home, though, right? The only even semi-legitimate starters left are Wolf and Braden Looper; we might as well fire up the “how long until Roy Halladay’s available” ticker right now.

auto_2009_ud_laroche.JPGIn other news, I’m greatly enjoying the succinctly named GarveyCeyRussellLopes blog, which appears to exist entirely for trying to grab Dodger cards out of baseball packs. Just their banner brings me back; I clearly remember owning the 1987 Topps Fernando Valenzuela on the left, the Bill Russell Fleer in the middle, and the Orel Hershiser Upper Deck on the top. I stopped collecting cards in about 1997 or so, but I still have dozens of Mike Piazza’s tucked away in a book somewhere.

That said, take a look at the LaRoche card at right. You’d think something like this would be so obviously a danger of occurring that they’d put extra care into making sure it didn’t, though, right? Take a close look. I’ll wait. See it yet? There you go. Excellent fact-checking, there.

* Finally… time for self-promotion. This offseason I was lucky enough to be able to write the Dodgers section for the 2009 Graphical Player book. After that, I was asked back to write weekly Dodger updates for Heater Magazine, which is a weekly online magazine put out by some of the best baseball writers online, including writers from The Hardball Times, Baseball Prospectus, Beyond the Box Score, and many others. They actually competed in a 2008 fantasy baseball experts league and beat teams from ESPN, Sporting News, and Rotoworld. From their own website, this is what Heater is:

heaterdodgers.jpgHEATER features three sections: 30 team pages (one for each MLB team), 17 hitter pages (one for each position and league), and 8 pitcher pages (two for each position — starter or reliever — and league). This approach lets us show players in different contexts. The wealth of data is buttressed by two pages of fantasy baseball coverage, a page of Hot Hands, a page of year-to-date minor-league stats and commentary for top prospects, and more! It’s like a Draft Package every week of the season!

It’s actually very cool, and each week I’ll be doing the Dodgers page (see example). Anyway, if this sort of thing interests anyone, you can get a $5 discount by clicking on this link here.

Thus ends my shameless promotion; thanks for reading. An example of the Dodgers page below; remember, there’s one for every team done by a local expert, plus much more.

(I know, I know: Dunn. Manny had just turned down the one year deal, so I had zero confidence in him and I had a deadline.)