Apparently, Gary Sheffield is an agent

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That veteran right-hander Josh Banks signed a minor league deal with the Orioles on Tuesday will go unnoticed by most and rightfully so, but there was an interesting footnote to the story: Banks’ deal was negotiated by former major leaguer Gary Sheffield.

“[Sheffield] brought him here,” Baltimore VP of baseball operation Dan Duquette said, “because he sees the opportunity for pitchers to help our major league team. So Gary’s been paying attention, I’ll tell you that.”

According to the Baltimore Sun article, Sheffield also represents Pirates right-hander Jason Grilli.

Sheffield may seem an unlikely agent given his lack of a college education and his occasional clashes with management as a player, but he does have experience: he negotiated his own three-year, $39 million deal with the Yankees in the 2003 offseason.

Sheffield retired from baseball a year ago after sitting out the 2010 season. A nine-time All-Star, he hit .292/.393/.514 with 509 homers and 1,676 RBI in 22 seasons.

Banks, for the record, is 4-8 with a 5.66 ERA in parts of four major league seasons.

Mariners sweep A’s in two-game Japan Series

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The big news, of course, is Ichiro’s retirement. But there was a baseball game that counted today as well and the Mariners took it. Seattle beat Oakland 5-4 in 12 innings to sweep the two-game Japan Series.

Ichiro may have taken an 0-for-4 in his last game, but Ryon Healy and Mitch Haniger homered for the Mariners, staking Seattle to a 3-0 lead after three. The A’s picked up two in the fifth and Seattle added one via a Jay Bruce sac fly to make it 4-2 in the seventh. Oakland tied things back up, ultimately sending it to extras when Khris Davis singled in Matt Chapman in the seventh. Davis would blow a chance to put Oakland ahead in the 11th when he struck out with the bases loaded.

In the twelfth, Domingo Santana, who hit a grand slam in Seattle’s win in the opener on Wednesday, beat out a would-be double-play with the bases loaded to drive in the go-ahead and, ultimately, winning run.

The rebuilding Mariners are now 2-0 on the young year. The A’s, who won 97 games last year, are 0-2. Viva the smallest of sample sizes.