Tuesday, September 05, 2006

What to do with Sheffield and Matsui

Rotoworld has been keeping everyone updated on the rehab statuses of Sheffield and Matsui. Sheffield should hopefully be cleared to bat within the week, and Matsui will spend awhile with the Trenton Thunder rehabbing. Matsui is eyeing September 12th as his debut, and Sheffield is likely to return the week after.

Both will have enough time to prove that they can hit following wrist injuries. Matsui should have an easier time, because his injured wrist has less pressure on it in a swing than Sheffield's (they both injured their left wrist). That doesn't even take into account Sheffield's crazy swing.

Matsui has a spot on this team right now. Torre has stated that he plans on DHing Matsui for awhile. That means that Giambi plays first (see prior post) and Melky stays in the field.

Sheffield has been taking fielding practice at 1st. He has played the infield before and could potentially spend time there. Think of him as a better hitting Craig Wilson. Melky Cabrera will sit.

Sheffield may not be likable or a great fielder, but the man can hit. He was a top-10 hitter in the AL last year and argueably the best or 2nd best the year before. Even if it means giving the DH spot to Sheffield permanently, he has to be in this lineup (if he can hit in the 2 weeks following injury, during which time we hopefully won't have any consequence to losing a game). Matsui is less essential, but for a lot of reasons (Japan's Media, prior RBI numbers, trust), he'll probably end up playing more than Sheffield. But hey, these are two great hitters.

What should the lineup be? I'd say Damon-Jeter-Abreu-Rodriguez-Giambi-Sheffield (DH)-Cano-Posada-Matsui against right handed pitchers and Damon-Jeter-Abreu-Rodriguez-Cano-Sheffield(1b)-Posada-Bernie(DH)-Cabrera against lefties.

Thing is, Matsui won't be platooned. He has a reputation of hitting better against lefties (in 2005 he led the league in hitting against lefties. In 03, 04, and 06 his OPS dropped 100 points against them), and the Tokyo media will go crazy. Giambi may be more likely to be platooned, to rest him.

It'll be a challenge, and hopefully Torre does not mess it up.