Three quick things I simply cannot fathom...
...the hypothetical contract offer that Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic suggests the Diamondbacks would be prudent to construct for free-agent right-hander Ben Sheets, which is constituted as follows: $4 million in 2009, $8 million in 2010, and $12 million in 2011 with a team option for 2012 worth $12 million (including a $3 million buyout), amounting to $27 million in guaranteed money.
You may recall that I threw out the proposed sum of $28 million guaranteed over two years or $43 million guaranteed over three years (with the third year being a club option year) roughly three weeks ago when discussing what would comprise a competitive offer on the part of the Texas Rangers for Sheets's services. Piecoro's hypothetical offer is longer and considerably cheaper, suggesting one of two things: either Piecoro is engaging in dramatic undervaluation of Sheets, or I'm badly overestimating what Sheets is actually worth in the free-agent market. Or perhaps a little bit of both.
In fact, it's beginning to get to a point where you almost have to wonder if Sheets wouldn't be better off pursuing a one-year commitment in an attempt to prove the stability of his health to potential long-term suitors and hitting the streets again next winter as part of a substantially less appealing free-agent pitching class that doesn't boast the likes of CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett or Derek Lowe -- a pitching class, in other words, where Sheets would be the shining star.
...the pedestrian three-player package the Chicago Cubs obtained in return for Mark DeRosa (one of the more quietly valuable players in baseball in 2008, thanks to his remarkable defensive versatility and steady bat), who figures to easily outperform his 2009 salary of $5.5 million and who evidently wasn't dealt for much of consequence. Here's to hoping his career trajectory doesn't end up taking the sort of nosedive David Dellucci's did once he became a Cleveland Indian.
...the fact that Suddenlink Communications, most famous for their well-publicized carriage stalemate with the NFL Network (which, as of today, remains unbroken), is shockingly not carrying the MLB Network either, while cable providers with far fewer subscribers are somehow finding a way to make television's latest large-scale offering available. Embarrassing.