Boo Sheffield if you must, but at least have a reason for it

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In yesterday’s recaps
I wondered whether it was time for Brewers fans to finally stop booing
Gary Sheffield. Almost everyone that responded disagreed, noting that
Sheffield is a special case inasmuch as his alleged tanking in
Milwaukee was way worse than your usual knucklehead behavior. I guess I
understand that. And, as The Star-Ledger’s Brian Costa notes, it’s not like Brewers fans are alone:

Sheffield has been booed loudly in several stadiums this season, a
constant reminder of the bad will he has left behind in cities where he
once played.

Eighteen years have passed since Sheffield last played for the
Brewers, longer than Brett Favre’s entire tenure in Green Bay, yet he
is still treated like a public enemy here. Only a day off Wednesday
spared him from more boos . . . But Brewers fans still remember. So do
Braves fans, who booed Sheffield at Turner Field. And Dodgers fans, who
booed him at Dodger Stadium.

So I understand why he is booed in Milwaukee, and I understand Los
Angeles too — he publicly bad-mouthed the front office and kept
demanding to be traded while playing for the Dodgers — but I don’t get
the booing in Atlanta.

The Braves traded for him in January 2002. The guys they gave up:
Brian Jordan, Odalis Perez, and Andrew Brown — did nothing after
leaving to make Braves fans regret the trade (Jordan was popular in
Atlanta, but not THAT popular). Sheffield, on the other hand, was
spectacular in Atlanta: in 2002 he hit .307/.404/.512 and in 2003 he
was even better: .330/.419/.604. I recall no incidents of him mouthing
off like he did elsewhere. He even had a little cheering section of
guys who wore chef hats and stuff. When he left, it wasn’t because he
demanded to leave. He simply became a free agent and the Yankees, as
they tend to do, offered far more than the Braves were willing to

It’s possible that I’m just forgetting some big incident, but short
of that, the only possible explanation I have for booing in Atlanta was
that, years later, it was revealed that Sheffield used steroids, likely
when he played for the Braves. But that doesn’t make much sense either
because Braves fans have never really gone out of their way to boo
Mitchell Report players not named Barry Bonds, let alone ones that
played in Atlanta. They kind of don’t care about anything, really,
which is sometimes good and sometimes bad.

Either way, though, it makes me wonder why they booed Sheff. Inertia? Bad day at the office? Anyone have any other ideas?

Orioles interested in Denard Span

Denard Span
AP Photo/Alex Brandon
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MASN’s Roch Kubatko is reporting that the Orioles have “some level” of interest in free agent outfielder Denard Span. The Nationals did not make a $15.8 million qualifying offer to Span, which means he doesn’t come attached with draft pick compensation unlike other free agents such as Alex Gordon and Dexter Fowler.

Span, who turns 32 in February, hit a solid .301/.365/.431 with five home runs, 22 RBI, 38 runs scored, and 11 stolen bases, but took only 275 plate appearances due to back and hip injuries. He underwent season-ending hip surgery in September but is expected to be ready to participate in spring training.

The Mets and Royals have also reportedly shown interest in Span’s services.

Blue Jays showing interest in Ryan Madson

Ryan Madson
AP Photo/Orlin Wagner
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ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports that the Blue Jays are on the prowl for relievers with closing experience. Ryan Madson is one of the names on their list.

Madson, 35, had a career rebirth with the Royals in 2015. He signed a minor league deal with the club that paid him a salary of $850,000 if he made it back to the majors. Due to a plethora of arm injuries, Madson hadn’t pitched in the majors since Game 5 of the 2011 NLDS against the Cardinals as a member of the Phillies. For the Royals, he wound up becoming a crucial member of the bullpen, finishing with a 2.13 ERA and a 58/14 K/BB ratio over 63 1/3 innings.

While Madson allowed five runs in 8 1/3 post-season innings, he pitched well when it mattered most, as he hurled three scoreless frames in three appearances in the World Series against the Mets.

Madson has closing experience, with 55 career saves. 32 of them came in 2011 when he took over the closer’s role from Brad Lidge.

After signing Marco Estrada and J.A. Happ, and trading for Jesse Chavez, the Jays have bolstered their rotation but it was reported on Saturday that interim GM Tony LaCava is still focused on upgrading the pitching staff.

Trevor Cahill considering the Pirates as a potential destination

Trevor Cahill
AP Photo/Paul Beaty

ESPN’s Buster Olney reports that free agent pitcher Trevor Cahill is looking for a one-year, bounce-back deal. The Pirates are one of the potential teams he is considering.

It’s no surprise that the Pirates are on Cahill’s list. Pirates pitching coach Ray Searage has garnered a reputation as a miracle worker after turning around the careers of a handful of pitchers, including Edinson Volquez, Francisco Liriano, and J.A. Happ. Volquez parlayed a one-year, $5 million deal with the Pirates into a two-year, $20 million deal with the Royals last December. Liriano signed with the Pirates on a one-year, $1 million contract and turned that into a three-year, $39 million deal. Happ, dealt to the Pirates from the Mariners at the most recent trade deadline, just signed a three-year, $39 million contract with the Blue Jays.

Cahill, once a highly-regarded pitching prospect, has scuffled over parts of seven seasons in the majors. The 27-year-old owns a career 4.13 ERA with a 754/427 K/BB ratio in 1,083 2/3 innings. Cahill had some brief success after signing with the Cubs as a free agent in mid-August, compiling a 2.12 ERA in 11 appearances out of the bullpen.

Blue Jays narrow GM search to two candidates: Tony LaCava and Ross Atkins

Tony LaCava
AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee

Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports that the Blue Jays have narrowed their search for a new general manager down to two candidates: current interim GM Tony LaCava, and Indians vice president of player personnel Ross Atkins. Former Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos resigned last month.

LaCava was promoted to interim GM on November 2 and has already made a handful of moves along with new president Mark Shapiro. The club acquired Jesse Chavez in a trade and signed pitchers Marco Estrada and J.A. Happ to multi-year deals.

Atkins worked under Shapiro in the Indians organization for 15 seasons, so it is no surprise that he is a finalist for the open GM position.