Sheffield ready to test market

Gary Sheffield has posted MVP-caliber numbers in three of the past five years and very good ones in the other two.

Updated: October 31, 2003, 9:15 AM ET
By Jim Baker | MLB Insider
Surprisingly, free agent slugger Gary Sheffield has a publicist but not an agent or even a lawyer. This is sort of like a heart attack patient having a hairdresser but not a physician. He is entering some of the most important negotiations like a gunslinger of old -- with no backup.

What will Sheffield the representative be asking for Sheffield the player? David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports that he is looking to get a deal comparable to the one given Jim Thome by the Phillies last year -- $72 million for six years. With those crazy days of 2000 behind us -- when C-47's full of money were landed on top of Alex Rodriguez, Manny Ramirez and Derek Jeter -- is this a reasonable demand? Thome's contract was huge and very long by baseball's most recent standards. Is it a good marker for Sheffield?

Let's consider a couple of things:

Jim Baker is an author at Baseball Prospectus and a frequent contributor to Page 2. You can e-mail Jim at