The next likely member of the 500 Home Run Club will have to hit his milestone blast for a different team.
The Detroit Tigers have released veteran outfielder Gary Sheffield, who has blasted 499 homers.
Detroit president/general manager Dave Dombrowski said his team needs more versatility from the designated hitter position.
Sheffield, 40, appeared stunned by the move.
"I never even really thought about it, to be honest with you,"
Sheffield told MLB.com. "This is the last thing I thought would happen at this particular time."
The Tigers will owe
Sheffield $14 million for this season. He can sign with any other club after the 72-hour waiver period for the major league minimum.
"Gary Sheffield is a probable Hall of Famer, and I think he should be a Hall of Famer," Dombrowski said. "He's had a tremendous career. But ... when we looked at our roster, it was hard to keep Marcus Thames and Gary Sheffield. We have a player in Marcus Thames that we think can be a productive hitter for us."
Veteran Tigers manager Jim Leyland has several choices for the DH role, depending on the opposing pitcher. Carlos Guillen, Magglio Ordonez and Miguel Cabrera are capable of filling that slot on occasion.
Sheffield has borderline Hall of Fame credentials, but he was ineffective this spring training. He hit just .178 (8-for-45) with three home runs. He struck out 10 times.
Hampered by shoulder injuries last season,
Sheffield came back the end of the year and homered 11 times over the final two months.
The Tigers had prepared to honor
Sheffield if he had socked his 500th homer last season. Now that party will have to move to another city.