This is a good thing. No, really.

Posted by Steve

I am now in a better mood than I was yesterday with the news that CC Sabathia has decided to sign with the Yankees. This may sound strange, so please allow me to explain why.

The Brewers can move on

I really saw almost no way he would have re-signed with the Brewers. The Yankees’ opening offer was 40 mil more than the Brewers’ offer. Teams will generally up their initial offer if they are serious about signing a player, and that’s exactly what they did. The deal is reportedly $161 mil over seven years (!!!), which is much more than the Brewers could/should even dream of offering.

Because of this, I felt the Brewers were strapping themselves a bit. Not that they couldn’t explore other options with the Sabathia offer on the table (surely they have been doing that), but they would not have been able to spend any significant amount of money if they wanted to keep their offer to CC alive.

I was expecting this to drag on awhile and was afraid the Brewers would just ride it out. That changed when the Yankees got aggressive and increased their offer. The fact that Sabathia signed this quickly allows the Brewers to move on and address other issues.

The Brewers dodge a risky contract

It would have been great if the Brewers could have signed CC to a three or four-year deal, but in all likelihood he probably preferred a longer deal. I was not pleased with a five-year offer, and wouldn’t have been shocked to see the Brewers extend their offer to six years. A huge six-year deal is just too much for Milwaukee to handle, and the Brewers would have been assuming a huge amount of risk.

As for the signing itself, I’ll say this: I find it crazy. Sabathia should be great for the next 2-3 years, but all those overworked innings are likely to catch up with him down the road. It’s the reason I wanted the Brewers to try to offer more money in a shorter contract. I suppose that’s the way the Yankees operate, though. If Sabathia stays healthy the entire time, he should be worth ever penny. I just can’t see him (or any pitcher) staying healthy for the duration of a seven-year contract, particularly one as overworked as CC was the past few seasons.

They can spread that money around and make moves they couldn’t have otherwise

Signing CC to a team-friendly deal would have been great, but it also would have limited the other things the Brewers could have done this off-season. Doug Melvin has said that if the Brewers don’t sign CC, they won’t just automatically spend all of that elsewhere (that alone should indicate the Brewers couldn’t really financially justify a five or six-year deal to CC, but I digress). The fact that they won’t spend all of that money is just fine, because even spending half of it could allow them to do multiple things. Here are some avenues I would like and/or expect the Brewers to pursue.

Ben Sheets

The ship may have sailed on this, as Sheets may no longer even be interested in playing in Milwaukee. If I’m Melvin, though, you can bet I’m going to find out. The Yankees were rumored to be interested in Sheets, and that may not be the case now that they’ve signed Sabathia. I’d approach Sheets with a 2 year/30 million offer and would be willing to go as high as 3 years/45 mil.

Fuentes/Hoffman

There were four good free agent closers available, and two appear to be off the market. Francisco Rodriguez signed a 3 year/37 mil deal with the Mets, and as of last night Kerry Wood was reportedly close to signing with the Indians. I originally shrugged off Fuentes, assuming he’d be too pricy for my liking. The economy, however, seems to be taking its toll on baseball as well. Rodriguez was supposedly seeking a 70 million dollar deal and barely got half of that. 3/37 is more in line with what I figured Fuentes would get, but no you have to think that would be lower. I now think he’s a real possibility.

Hoffman continues to interest me, and wouldn’t require more than a one or two year deal. Melvin apparently met with the agent of both of these pitchers yesterday, who incidentally is the same person. I’d gladly take either one of these players as closer.

Dunn/Burrell

This one is probably more of my pipe dream, but I really see no reason the Brewers shouldn’t try to sign one of these players. Their offense needs an OBP boost, and that’s exactly what either would bring. It does a number of things additionally, including opening up a spot to trade Cameron/Hart/Fielder to fill other needs. This could become especially appealing if the Brewers don’t sign Ben Sheets and need trade bait for pitching.

EDIT: OMG EVEN MORE GOOD NEWS!

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