There are two very easy conclusions to draw from the all-but-finished trade of C.C. Sabathia from Cleveland to Milwaukee for prospect Matt LaPorta and three other minor leaguers: the Brewers have figured it’s time for them to make a run now (because this is likely a three month rental) and Cleveland has closed ups shop and focused a bit more on developing a core for next season.
Cleveland has the All-Star starter in Cliff Lee but has had a lot of other aspects of its team fall apart: neither Victor Martinez nor Travis Hafner have hit anywhere near what was predicted of them; Jake Westbrook is his usual in-and-out of injury; Joe Borowski was finally revealed for the awful that he is and released. There are too many pieces missing for the Indians to be considered for a division champ at the All-Star break. Grady Sizemore can’t do it all.
But this is a very risky move by the Brewers; I doubt Sabathia will want to stay in Milwaukee unless the Brewers make the playoffs and they show him Johan Santana-level cash (which any and every franchise should be wary of doing in this post-Barry Zito era.)
The trade will make the NL Central much more closer and interesting than it usually is, because at this point, the favorite for a Wild Card spot comes from the division, and the Brewers want a piece of it. Whether Sabathia’s stuff will add to Ben Sheets and the rotation in a way that’s beneficial remains to be seen, but at least someone’s decided to take the big gamble early.
Brewers make trade for pitcher C.C. Sabathia [Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel]