Only one thing stood in the way, and that was a physical.
The results of the physical killed the deal when it revealed a torn flexor tendon in Sheet's pitching elbow that would require surgery.
The Deal was scratched and the Rangers resigned themselves to most likely heading into spring training as is.
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"Even if some of the other guys were still out there, we weren't going to spend the money," general manager Jon Daniels said. "This was the one guy that Tom was willing to spend on and rightfully so. He's a different guy. We were not going to go out and just spend money. Ben Sheets was in a different category."
But should the Rangers really close the door on signing Sheets completely? GM Jon Daniels has said a deal isn't likely anymore, but that a line of discussion would be left open. It might seem crazy to sign a free agent pitcher knowing he will most likely miss the entire season, but Sheets could be worth that risk if the right kind of deal could be put in place.
Daniels should still be working hard to agree with Sheets on a deal that pays him near the minimum in 2009 and then increases significantly in 2010 with incentives that could raise the value even higher. The Rangers have long targeted 2010 as the year they want to seriously compete, and adding a healthy Sheets now to save for when it will hopefully matter could be great forward thinking strategy. While there would absolutely be risk that the entire contract would be a complete loss, the potential reward of adding a starting pitcher with a career ERA of 3.72 to a hungry 2010 team full of young talent could be massive.