Monday, July 7, 2008

Sabathia No Longer Biggest Player On Own Team

With three weeks still remaining until the trade deadline, the season's biggest deal has already occurred. The disappointing (and last place) Cleveland Indians have traded their soon to be free agent Ace, CC Sabathia, to the Milwaukee Brewers for slugging outfielder (really a first-baseman, and probably a DH in the near future) Matt LaPorta and three other minor leaguers (none of which are particularly big names). The Brewers have the second best record in the NL (behind the Cubs) and now are primed to make a run at a championship this year. That might have sounded crazy a little while ago when they were under .500 and had lost Yovanni Gallardo for the year, but with Sabathia and Ben Sheets at the top of the rotation (that has to be the best 1-2 punch in baseball) Milwaukee just needs to get to the playoffs to have a solid chance. The offense is there - if they could pick up a bullpen arm or two (George Sherrill for shortstop Alcides Escobar and change on either side?) they'd be in a very good position to go deep into October.

While the price was high (LaPorta has 40 HR potential) for a three+ month rental, the success with which the Brewers draft means that the compensatory picks they'll get once Sabathia (probably) leaves for a big money contract will allow them to recoup much of what they gave away. It's a somewhat surprising win-now move by Milwaukee, and the Cubs may need to counter with a big trade of their own to stay atop the NL Central. Another thing of note is that Sabathia is a pretty good hitter for a pitcher - that's extra value that the Brewers are getting.

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