Maddux, Cameron and Sabathia

Posted by Steve

Some interesting pieces of news on the Brewers front today. Mike Maddux is signing with the Texas Rangers to be their pitching coach, the Brewers have exercised the option on Mike Cameron and they have also made an offer to CC Sabathia.

The Maddux news isn’t good or anything, but who knows how much (if at all) it will hurt. Maddux had success early in his Brewers tenure with reclamation projects like Dan Kolb and Derrick Turnbow, but it’s hard to evaluate the effect of a positional coach from an outsider’s perspective. He seems to be well respected as a coach, and apparently he got a pretty hefty contract from Texas, so good for him.

The more interesting news is the Brewers exercising the one-year, $10 million option on Mike Cameron. Arguments against bringing Cameron back: he’s no longer a big bargain at $10 mil, he’s not left-handed and the Brewers will need to give big raises to many of their arbitration-eligible players. Despite all that, my feeling was picking up the option was a no brainer. The Yankees had already expressed some interest in Cameron, and obviously other teams would have been interested as well. Doug Melvin noted that Cameron was in the upper echelon of center fielders last year.

The reason I thought it was a no brainer is that just because his option was picked up doesn’t guarantee he will be in Milwaukee next year. Today was the deadline for making a decision on his option, but Cameron could still be traded if the Brewers decided sometime this off-season that the money for his salary would be better spent elsewhere. Maybe it’s just me reaching a bit, but it seemed to me that Melvin was at least hinting at that in this quote:

The only difficult thing is that we’re so right-handed (throughout the lineup). But we felt he has value. When you look at his contract, we paid him $7.5 million average for two years. That’s the way we viewed it.

The “we felt he has value” line is what stands out to me. Discussing a player’s value rather than just saying “he helped our team” seems strange if you aren’t open to trading him. Put it this way… I don’t expect to hear Melvin say Ryan Braun or Yovani Gallardo have good value any time this off-season.

Finally, the CC offer. It was reported on Friday that the Brewers were expected to make a four-year, $110 million offer to Sabathia. That is a huuuge annual salary, but I like the fact that it’s only four years. I would not have gone any higher than that amount.

Today, though, Tom Haudricourt reported that the deal is likely closer to $100 mil over five years. I’d be alright with either one as a Brewers fan, but I’d be pretty shocked if Sabathia accepted it. He’d be leaving at least $40 million on the table that he’d get on the open market, and it’s probably more like $60 million or more.

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7 responses to “Maddux, Cameron and Sabathia

  1. Wow- I’m hoping that you’re right about the trade possibility for Cameron. I’ve watched him strike out enough to know that I’d rather be grooming a younger player like Gwyn in the outfield.

    What did you think about Dale sticking around as the hitting coach?

  2. So do you just make these posts during the day…?

  3. I still think they should exercise Basil Ryan’s option for ’09.

  4. I remember a while back there was talk of moving Hart to center, Braun to right, and putting Gamel in left. Is that no longer an option? Obviously the current outfield is better defensively than Gamel/Hart/Braun would be, but are they giving up on the possibility? I like Cam, he’s a solid clubhouse guy with his head on straight and a great defender, but 10 mil is a lot for all the strikeouts. I’d be curious as to what sort of trade value he has.

  5. What about Counsell?!?!

  6. For those who are overly concerned with his strikeouts, consider that strikeouts are not as detrimental as they might seem. In almost all situations, a strikeout is no worse than any other out, and in some situations a strikeout can even be better than a ground ball. Many of the strikeout leaders are the most valuable hitters in the game.

    Cameron’s offensive numbers are in the top six or seven among center fielders and his defense is still very good. He’s above average offensively and defensively… What’s not to like?

  7. And yeah good call Shawn.. Later in the day it was announced Counsell’s option wasn’t being picked up. $3.4 mil is just too much for him, but I wouldn’t mind the Brewers bringing him back for a smaller amount. He’s a pretty good reserve player.

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