Back To Their Old Tricks

sabEarlier this morning it was reported that the New York Yankees have signed starter CC Sabathia to a 7 year, $161 million contract.  Good to see the Yankees won’t lose their free-spending ways under Hank and Hal’s new regime.

Sabathia will join Chien-Ming Wang, maybe Andy Pettitte, Joba Chamberlain, and Phil Hughes, unless they sign Derek Lowe or AJ Burnett (or both).  Sabathia carried the Brewers into the playoffs down the stretch, going 11-2 with a 1.65 ERA.  This was after starting 6-8 with a 3.83 ERA with the Cleveland Indians.  Not exactly eye-popping there and Sabathia has lost 10 games or more in five of his eight seasons.

Another point of concern is the number of innings that the soon-to-be 28 year old has already thrown.  In his first eight seasons, he averages 222 innings and had seven complete games in 17 starts for the Brewers down the stretch.  Assuming Sabathia doesn’t opt-out after his third year in the Bronx, there’s no telling how his body will hold up until he’s 35.  Consider me skeptical on this one, but it’s the Yankees, this is what they do.

2855916183_fb4b070161The other big signing yesterday was Francisco Rodriguez signing with the New York Mets.  K-Rod will be 27 next year, and set a record last year with 62 saves.   He’s had at least 40 saves in each of the last four years.  Now, having said that, I don’t like him at all.  I don’t like paying big money to relievers.  I know the Mets have had their bullpen woes down the stretch the last two years, but overpaying for a closer in not the right answer.  I know Billy Wagner is hurt, but he’s been great the last two years.  Is K-Rod really that big of an improvement?  I think the middle relievers are more in need of the upgrade, not a big money closer.

Side note on K-Rod, I talked with a guy this summer who used to work for the Angels.  He said Rodriguez was one of the biggest prima-donnas in the game.  “He’s one of those guys who has to have his hat dry cleaned every day.”  Pair that with his on-field antics and I think you’ll find a fairly unlikeable guy.  Throw that into the Mets clubhouse which hasn’t had the best track record of cohesion, granted it got much better under Jerry Manuel, but still.

Also, Kerry Wood found a new home in Cleveland on a 2-year deal.  Good for him, now that he’s not a Cub, I hope he does well.

Now that two of the bigger free agents have found homes, we may see even more fall into place.  Check out MLBTradeRumors for all the up to date information.

Big Baseball Day

Today was big day in the world of Major League Baseball.  Last year’s Cy Young Award winner CC Sabathia was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers for power hitting prospect Matt LaPorta and some other unconfirmed minor leaguers.  I was surprised about the urgency with which this trade went down.  It seems like the Brewers never tried to low ball the Indians and work their way up.  This didn’t give anyone else a chance to top their offer, so the Indians just accepted.  Quick and painless.

I like this move for the Brewers for many reasons.  At the close of the day the Brewers sat 3.5 games behind the first place Chicago Cubs in the AL Central, Sabathia gives them another dominant, front-line pitcher to compliment Ben Sheets, giving then one of the best 1-2 punches in all of baseball.  It also allows Jeff Suppan to slide back into the number three spot, where he thrived for the Cardinals before signing his free agent deal with Milwaukee.  While I am a big fan of Mr. Suppan, as detailed here, he is not a number two starter.

As for LaPorta, the Brew Crew may miss his power, but their Double A team is loaded.  LaPorta converted from first base in his college days to outfield this year, where he’s only made two errors.  This year, he’s put together an eye popping line of .288/20/66 in 84 games.  They’re not exactly losing their offense at Double A since Third Baseman Mat Gamel is putting together an equally impressive line of .374/15/75.  Gamel, however, has committed 23 errors in 87 games.  I would look for a swap of positions in the near future; maybe 1st Base if Prince Fielder gets traded in the offseason (not as crazy as it sounds, we’ll discuss this in a minute.)  The report also says that they were not forced to give up shorstop prospect Alcides Escobar who’s hitting .324/7/52 to go along with 22 steals.  The Brewers are going to be set for a while.

Another interesting thought was brought up by Buster Olney on Baseball Tonight.  He said that if Sabathia and Sheets both leave after this year via free agency, the Brewers will have five of the top 35 picks in the 2009 Draft.  That’s kind of frightening for the rest of the National League.

Now back to that little bit about Prince Fielder.  My friend and frequent commenter, Nick, were discussing this possibility a couple days back.  Back in March, Tim for MLBTradeRumors posted this about Prince not being happy with his contract being renewed, rather than the possibility of an extension.  Think of the return the Brewers could get for a controllable player who is in his early 20s and has a 50 homer season to his credit.  It would be something we’ve never seen before.  The two comparables I can come up with off the top of my head are Mark Teixeira’s trade to the Braves last year for Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Elvis Andrus, Matt Harrison, Beau Jones, and Neftali Feliz.  This was for 1.5 season’s of Teixeira if the Braves are unable to resign him.  The second is the Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis trade to the Detroit Tigers for Andrew Miller and Cameron Maybin.  Both of these involved superstar players under contract for over a year…but neither one has hit 50 homers.  The return for Prince could be astronomical.  We settled on the Giants as the team who could get him.  The Brew Crew would need pitching and the Giants have the young pitchers to get it done.  Tim Lincecum would be the starting point.  Would it also need Madison Bumgarner and/or Tim Alderson?  It’s fun to speculate.

Anyway, enough Brewer talk for tonight.  Maybe I’ll come back to criticize the All-Star selections tomorrow.  Geovany Soto is my new least favorite player in baseball.

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