For a team that doesn't like to spend, the Oakland Athletics sure don't mind coughing up big dough for players on the down side of their careers.
Billy Beane's latest target is 31-year-old right handed pitcher Ben Sheets -- who missed all of the 2009 season while recovering from elbow surgery --at a price of $10 million. Sheets, of course, fits the mold of the A's annual declining superstar signing.
Last year, the team brought in former A's icon Jason Giambi and Mr. Mia Hamm Nomar Garciapara. The trend has gone back to 1999, when Beane proved his genius by taking a chance on another talented but often injured Milwaukee Brewer, John Jaha. The A's signed Jaha to a minor-league contract that year, and the right-handed slugger rewarded Bean's faith with an All-Star season and 35 home runs and 111 RBIs.
Sheets has the talent to make Beane look like a genius. He's a four-time National League All-Star who has a career 3.72 ERA. He pitched well enough in front of two A's scouts to make the team forget about his history of elbow injuries.
Sheets also fills a hole for the A's, who were desperately looking for another veteran starter to use as a bookend with ace Justin Duchscherer.
Could Sheets be the latest John Jaha, or will he remind A's fans of the mustached version of Jason Giambi, who couldn't even survive the season with the team last year?