Mets imagine Sheets on their DL in 2010

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Thumbnail image for ben sheets.jpgThe New York Post is reporting that the Mets are “keeping an eye” on free agent pitcher Ben Sheets.

At first, I wasn’t sure what level of interest that implied, but it turns out the Mets are, indeed considering Sheets as a viable option for 2010.

A major-league source confirmed that Sheets, 31, would be among a group of second-tier, relatively low-cost starting pitchers the Mets will consider this offseason while continuing their pursuit of top free-agent starter John Lackey.

The story says the Mets are also considering Joel Pineiro, Jason Marquis and Randy Wolf, all safer, healthier, but less-sexy options.

On the positive side of things, Sheets didn’t give up a single run in 2009 (maybe that’s what the Mets noticed). On the negative side, he wasn’t able to pitch a single inning either after having surgery in February on a tendon in his forearm.

We all know about Ben Sheets (stats). When he’s healthy, he’s very good. But he is known for his struggles in that department. Since entering the league in 2001, he has thrown more than 200 innings four times, but not once since 2004.

Sheets, a four-time All-Star, looks like a good gamble on a short-term contract. But given the injury problems the Mets had in 2009, this seems like a matchup made for the doctor’s waiting room. Then again, I can’t blame the Mets too much for imagining what a nice addition Sheets would make to their disabled list next season. After all, an injured Sheets is still better than Oliver Perez.

Follow me on Twitter at @bharks. For more baseball news, go to NBCSports.com.

Report: Welington Castillo to be suspended 80 games for violating Joint Drug Agreement

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Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic confirms a report from journalist Américo Celado that White Sox catcher Welington Castillo will be suspended 80 games for violating baseball’s Joint Drug Agreement. Castillo was believed to have used a steroid, but according to Rosenthal, the substance was not a steroid. More details should come on Thursday.

Castillo, 31, entered Wednesday’s action batting .270/.314/.477 with six home runs and 15 RBI in 118 plate appearances. He has gotten the bulk of the work behind the plate, backed up by Omar Narváez.

Castillo’s absence will likely prompt the White Sox to call up Kevan Smith from Triple-A Charlotte. Smith battled an ankle injury in March and April, so he got a late start to the season. In 102 PA at Triple-A, he has hit .283/.343/.457.