Yanks exercise option on Sheffield, plan to trade him

Updated: November 6, 2006, 12:56 AM ET
Associated Press

NEW YORK -- Gary Sheffield's $13 million option was exercised Sunday by the New York Yankees, who plan to trade the outfielder rather than keep him.

Gary Sheffield

By exercising the option, the Yankees prevented Sheffield from becoming a free agent and blocked him from perhaps signing with the Boston Red Sox.

Sheffield, who turns 38 on Nov. 18, was All-Star during his first two seasons with the Yankees but missed most of this year after injuring a wrist April 29 against Toronto during a collision at first base with Shea Hillenbrand. The wrist didn't get better and Sheffield had surgery June 13.

New York acquired Bobby Abreu from Philadelphia on July 30 to take over in right field, and Sheffield was shifted to first base when he returned Sept. 22.

Sheffield did not want the Yankees to exercise the option, preferring to control his own destiny. His contract does not contain a no-trade clause.

Newsday reported on Sunday that Sheffield's attorney, Rufus Williams, has spoken to the Yankees about a list of teams that the player would like to be involved in a trade. He would not reveal that list.

The Chicago Tribune had reported that both the Cubs and White Sox had interest in the slugger.

New York had until Sunday to decide on Sheffield's option. The Yankees have until Nov. 12 to exercise pitcher Jaret Wright's $7 million option or pay a $4 million buyout and until Nov. 15 to exercise pitcher Mike Mussina's $17 million option or pay a $1.5 million buyout.

Mussina's agent, Arn Tellem, and the Yankees have been negotiating a new two-year contract in the $20 million to $25 million range.

New York also intends to bid by Wednesday's deadline for Japanese pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka. The winning bid -- without the identity of the team that made it -- will be submitted to the Seibu Lions of Japan's Pacific League, who have until Nov. 14 to accept. If the bid is accepted, the winning team has 30 days to sign him to a contract.

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press