C.C. Mania!

Posted by Steve

I was out and about yesterday when someone told me the Brewers had traded Matt LaPorta and J.J. Hardy for C.C. Sabathia. Others confirmed this, and I immediately called Dan and my brother to share my misery. After I found out that the report wasn’t true, I relaxed a bit, but not a lot. The Brewers and Indians were definitely in talks, and I was terrified of what the Brewers might give up.

The JS reported last night that the Brewers’ current offer is Matt LaPorta, Taylor Green and Lorenzo Cain. I have a few thoughts on that:

  • The Indians aren’t going to find a better offer than that, and if that is truly the offer, I’d be very surprised if they don’t make the deal by Sunday.
  • Even though I know Melvin wouldn’t do it (well, like 99% sure), I was still terrified that Mat Gamel, Alcides Escobar or Jeremy Jeffress would end up in the deal along with LaPorta.
  • The current offer is STILL too much to give up for C.C. I don’t see how any team can rival the offer of LaPorta, Green and Cain. The Dodgers won’t give up Billingsley, Kershaw, Kemp or Loney. The Yankees won’t give up Chamberlain or Hughes. The Red Sox won’t give up any of their key guys because they’re already helping the big league team. And the Cubs don’t have the prospects to compete with the Brewers offer. The Brewers simply don’t need to give up LaPorta PLUS two more good prospects in Green and Cain.

I certainly understand the appeal for going for a rental. Ben Sheets is an impending free agent, and Prince Fielder may be traded as soon as this coming off-season, so there is certainly a temptation to take one big shot now and worry about the rest later.

The reason I say that is this: I see the Brewers as the wildcard favorite as things currently stand. Baseball Prospectus backs this up too; they give the Brewers a 34% chance at the wildcard, with the Cardinals in second at 28%. The Cubs are actually the third highest for the wildcard at 15%, which would likely mean the Brewers win the division in that scenario.

In others words, the Brewers may not even NEED C.C. to reach the post-season. I see the Sabathia move as more of a World Series move than playoff move. Obviously that isn’t a bad thing. If the Brewers won the World Series this season, it would be worth giving anyone. You obviously can’t guarantee a World Series though.

I’m finding myself in the minority (seems to be the ongoing trend lately), but I’d rather they not do this. I still strongly believe they need to re-sign Ben Sheets, and I sort of, in a wishfully-trying-to-convince- myself type of way, think they will bring Ben back. If they get Sheets back, there’s no need to put all the eggs in one basket for this year.

My vision for the 2009 team is as follows:

Re-sign Sheets. Trade an arby-eligible Prince Fielder who has no intention of signing long term for a young talented pitcher who you can control for multiple seasons–likely from an AL team so Prince can DH. Move LaPorta to first base.

I’d still like the Brewers to upgrade their pitching staff this season. So let’s say they get Greg Maddux for San Diego for much lesser prospects (can you say Tony Gwynn? OH PLZ PLZ PLZZ!!) These moves leave you with:

2008 Rotation

1. Sheets
2. Parra
3. Maddux
4. Suppan
5. Bush

Next year:

1. Sheets
2. Gallardo
3. *Pitcher from Fielder trade*
4. Parra
5. Who cares?

I understand people are ready to shoot for the World Series this season. I don’t hate the idea, and I definitely appreciate that line of thought. My preference though, is to construct the team in such a way that it is set to compete for the division and the playoffs every year. The playoffs are a crapshoot anyway; the goal should simply be to reach the post-season and try your luck.

Of course, if they do the C.C. trade, I’ll be intrigued as hell for the rest of the season, so, whatever.


3 responses to “C.C. Mania!

  1. I’m not fond of the proposed Sabathia trade largely because I don’t think the Brewers should be trading for a rental.

    The problem I have with adding any other pitcher to the rotation is that I’m worried that the team is going to subject their decision to the sunk cost fallacy and not move Jeff Suppan to the bullpen simply because of his contract. Most fans seem to want McClung in the pen–he’s under the smallest contract–although looking at various measures, he’s probably the third-best starter on the staff.

    What would make sense for 2008:
    Sheets, newly acquired pitcher, McClung, Bush, Parra

    …that probably won’t be what will happen.

  2. I see what you’re saying, as Suppan has been brutal his last few starts, but I’m still not convinced McClung is the better long-term option. Soup has at least proven he’s a legit MLB starter; McClung has only a handful of decent starts.

  3. Not to mention, moving Soup to the bullpen kind of kills his trade value (if moving him is an option). The money owed to Soup is gone no matter what they do so I don’t think contract should have much to do with it. As Steve said, Suppan is a league average pitcher, more or less, who makes it to the mound every 5th day. There really is value in that, it’s just less than $10M.

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