Has the Sheff Watch come to an end in its third day? According to Joel Sherman of the New York Post, Gary Sheffield is close to signing with the New York Mets. (David Lennon of Newsday is reporting that an agreement could be reached tonight.)
As we know, Sheffield wants to go where he'll play the most, not just because he thinks he can still play, but because he's looking for a new contract after this season and wants a chance to show what he can do. And it appears that the Mets are ready to offer him more of an opportunity than the Phillies were prepared to. (It also probably wouldn't hurt to keep a potentially potent bat away from a division rival.)
Where the Phils and Reds had part-time openings in right and left field, respectively, the Mets have question marks in both of their corner outfield spots, with an untested David Murphy in left and underperforming Ryan Church in right. Sheffield could fill in for either player against a left-handed pitcher, or conceivably take over entirely if one of them falters.
The Mets are satisfied Sheffield can play at least a satisfactory outfield, according to Sherman's report in the NY Post, after sending two scouts to watch him throw yesterday. But it could be interesting to see how Sheff deals with that right field overhang in the new Citi Field.
And if this is the last stop for Sheffield, playing for the team his uncle Dwight Gooden debuted with 25 years ago might put kind of a nice bow on what's been an impressive career.
UPDATE: SI.com's Jon Heyman says it's now official, and the Mets will announce they've signed Sheffield this afternoon.