The Cleveland Indians have traded pitcher C.C. Sabathia to the Milwaukee Brewers for three minor league prospects and a player to be named later. Sabathia, who turns 28 later this month, won the 2007 AL Cy Young Award with the Tribe. He was the anchor of a team that was within one game of reaching the World Series until the Boston Red Sox came roaring back. The Indians have struggled in 2008 and Sabathia himself has been inconsistent with a 6-8 won loss record. Sabathia becomes a free agent at the end of the season and he would have probably not re-signed with them for 2009 and beyond.
Enter the Brewers. They have not been in the postseason since 1982 when they were still an American League team. Currently, the Brewers are three and a half games behind the Chicago Cubs in the National League Central Division, tied with the St. Louis Cardinals. The Brewers are thin in starting pitching and thick with prospects.
I think the Indians get the better of this deal. They get a power hitting prospect in Matt La Porta, the Brewers top draft pick in 2007, who is tearing up Double A with 20 home runs and 60 RBIs. Don't be surprised if he is called up the majors before season's end. The Tribe also gets a Triple A left handed pitcher in Zach Jackson and a Single A right hander in Rob Bryson. Granted the Indians will receive the benefits of the deal in 2009 and 2010 but Sabathia will be long gone from Milwaukee by then. Sure, the Brewers get draft picks as compensation should Sabathia sign elsewhere next year. Although Sabathia is a very good pitcher, like Johan Santana, he is not a big money pitcher and doesn't deliver in the clutch. I don't think getting Sabathia will enable the Brew Crew to compete with the Cubs and Cardinals. So long as Milwaukee doesn't reach the postseason in 2008 and they don't re-sign him, the Indians will have gotten a steal of home.