I guess we can put the speculation to bed once and for all now, because Ken Rosenthal is reporting that Ben Sheets did in fact undergo elbow surgery earlier this week to repair the partially torn flexor-tendon in his right elbow. It sounds like it was a successful surgery, but that's not going to make the contract offers come pouring back in for Sheets.
As it stands right now, he's going to miss a significant portion of the season, and it sounds like he's targeting a return for sometime around the trade deadline. I'm not sure how likely that is, but it's possible some team will sign him and take a chance on his rehab year for the assurance that they get a (presumably) healthier Sheets for the next couple years down the road.
One question lingering around the situation is how the Brewers will be compensated for his signing if he signs after the June draft. Sheets is a Type A free agent who declined arbitration, which means the Brewers are entitled to the first round draft pick from the team that signs him, as well as a supplementary pick in the "sandwich" round between the first and second rounds.
I'm guessing that the picks will transfer towards next year's draft, mostly because I'm not entirely certain what happens in this situation, but if the picks were lost after June I'd assume that some free agent would have been left out in the cold before now to avoid paying the steep signing price.
Thinking about this logically, Sheets might be more valuable to a team just down the stretch if he can prove he's healthy. The Brewers fell apart last year when he was too injured to pitch down the stretch and in the playoffs, but if he rehabs the arm and is ready to pitch by mid-July, he'd have less than 100 innings on the arm by the time the playoffs start. I bet someone gives it a shot if his rehab goes well.
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