Agent says Ben Sheets plans to pitch in 2010

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At the general manager meetings in Chicago earlier this week Doug Melvin was asked about the status of former Brewers starter Ben Sheets and replied that “no one has heard from” him after a lost year following elbow surgery.
In an effort to clear up Sheets’ status agent Casey Close told ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick that the 31-year-old right-hander is doing “very well” in his rehab and plans to be ready for spring training.
“We have already heard from a number of teams inquiring about Ben’s health and availability for 2010,” Close said. “I will tell you that he has a very good chance to be one of the most impactful free agents, without question.”
When healthy Sheets has long been one of the best starters in baseball, posting an ERA under 4.00 every year from 2004-2008. However, after becoming a free agent last offseason he managed only an incentive-laden two-year offer from the Rangers and then a pre-signing MRI exam revealed a torn flexor tendon in his right elbow.
Clearly teams will need to do some serious homework on Sheets’ health before pursuing him, but in terms of risk versus reward he’d be very attractive on a one-year deal light on guaranteed money and heavy on incentives. Prior to going under the knife Sheets had a 3.09 ERA, 158/47 K/BB ratio, and .241 opponents’ batting average in 2008.

Report: Mariners sign Juan Nicasio to a two-year deal

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Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Mariners have signed pitcher Juan Nicasio to a two-year contract, pending a physical.

Nicasio, 31, spent last season with the Pirates, Phillies, and Cardinals, putting up an aggregate 2.61 ERA with a 72/20 K/BB ratio in 72 1/3 innings. He appeared in 76 games, leading the National League.

Nicasio will help bolster the Mariners’ bullpen behind closer Edwin Diaz. It’s not known exactly what role he’ll have but it seems reasonable to assume he’ll handle mostly the seventh inning while Nick Vincent will set up for Diaz. Nicasio does have plenty of starting experience so he could also spot start in a pinch.