As readers of today's Frosty Mug know, Brian Anderson reports that Ben Sheets "has informed the Brewers that he is going in a different direction."
I always thought that phrase was interesting, especially in this case. I can see how an organization might truthfully use the phrase "going in a different direction" as a result of a chance in team philosophy. An NFL team might switch from a 4-3 defense to a 3-4 defense, requiring more from an outside linebacker than your current OLB can offer, talentwise. Or a team in any sport might decide that this is a "rebuilding year" and trade some established veterans for younger and less proven talent.
I'd be curious to see if Ben Sheets actually said he wants to go in a "different direction," because that phrasing really doesn't make any sense when you're a person instead of an organization. What direction are the Brewers going in that Ben wants to veer from? Requiring that pitcher use their hands to pitch, and not their bare feet? Catapulting pitches across the plate using your hat? Before this season, you could say that the direction Ben wanted to go to was "winning baseball," but that doesn't apply anymore after the 2008 season.
Admittedly, this may merely be some inexact writing on BA's part --- it wasn't offered as an exact quote by Sheets or anything. Just the same, it's the first time I saw a report of Sheets not wanting to return to Milwaukee, and I'd be curious as to why.
If true, then Sheets is out of the running, right on the heels of Derek Lowe signing with the Braves. Assuming Pettitte is still in Yankees-or-retirement mode, that leaves the wildly enigmatic Oliver Perez as the last Type A FA starter. Here's a list of the other FA starting pitchers:
Kris Benson (33)
Paul Byrd (38) - Type B, offered arb
Roger Clemens (46)
Josh Fogg (32)
Freddy Garcia (33)
Jon Garland (29) - Type B, offered arb
Tom Glavine (43)
Charlie Haeger (25)
Livan Hernandez (34)
Orlando Hernandez (43)
Chuck James (27)
Jason Jennings (30)
Jon Lieber (39)
Braden Looper (34) - Type B, not offered arb
Rodrigo Lopez (33)
Pedro Martinez (37)
Mark Mulder (31)
John Parrish (31)
Odalis Perez (32)
Oliver Perez (27) - Type A, offered arb
Andy Pettitte (37) - Type A, not offered arb
Sidney Ponson (32)
Kenny Rogers (44)
Curt Schilling (42)
Ben Sheets (30) - Type A, offered arb
Kip Wells (32)
Randy Wolf (32) - Type B, not offered arb
It's not an encouraging list. Avoiding another Suppan from this group would take some doing.