Gary Sheffield Not Officially Retired, but Focused on Financial Management
Sheffield, a nine-time All-Star and the owner of 509 career homers, said Tuesday in the lobby of the hotel hosting baseball's Winter Meetings that he's been spending time putting together a financial management startup, a company that he hopes will help young ballplayers keep more of their money.
"For the last seven years of my career, I negotiated my own contracts," Sheffield said. "It was stuff I learned along the way, stuff that young players who are earning a lot of money haven't learned.
"If we can fill that gap, I think we can really provide a service."
To be clear, the veteran outfielder Sheffield isn't following the path of former big leaguers Dave Stewart, Joe Sambito and others in trying to make their way as a player agent, although he said he has qualified as one.
Sheffield said he was able to survive quite nicely without much help from agents later in his career and he says if he can communicate the lessons he learned to a new generation of player, those players will be able to do better with their money. One of his clients is pitcher Jason Grilli.
"Too many times I've seen guys come up, then three or four years after their career is over, the money is gone," Sheffield said. "That's not the way it should be. The kids have to learn how to take responsibility for their money so it's there later on."
Sheffield said there is a difference between being good at negotiating for the best possible contract money and managing that money once it starts flowing into the player's pocket.
And he's not saying he wouldn't try to negotiate one more deal for himself with the right big league club -- if the opportunity arises.
"I haven't retired yet," he said. "I didn't play last year but I did get an offer from the Giants on April 18; it just didn't work out. I still have the same passion for the game and I still think I have something to offer for the right team."
The franchise best suiting Sheffield from the player's point of view is Tampa Bay, given that's where Sheffield resides. Whether that deal or some other one happens, however, would seem to be a long shot.
"The last few teams who've contacted me have been National League teams wanting me to play right field," he said. "I could DH if it was needed. We'll have to see what happens.
"But that's not why I'm here. I'm mostly here to see about helping these kids save some more of their money."