Thursday, July 3, 2008

Shopping Sabathia

No real surprise here, but Mark Shapiro is making it pretty clear that the Indians are going to be sellers this trading season:

"It's pretty obvious," Shapiro said. "If you're looking for an announcement that we're going to start trading guys, you won't get that until we make our first trade. But I think it's fairly obvious at this point."
The biggest chit they have, of course, is C.C. Sabathia. According to the article, there are many possible suitors, with the Cubs, Dodgers, Phillies, Brewers, Rays, Red Sox and Yankees all potential landing places. Some of these make more sense than others. The Cubs, who have the easiest path to the World Series, and the Dodgers and Red Sox, who have a lot of pitching, may not really need him, at least for the price Shapiro will no doubt demand. The Phillies likely don't have the players it will take to get him. That leaves Tampa Bay, Milwaukee and New York.

I have long thought (well, for a couple of weeks anyway) that Milwaukee makes the most sense because (a) Cleveland has no corner bats; and (b) Milwaukee has many, but the general consensus among the smart Indians' fans I've talked to is that Cleveland will want some pitching back as a part of any package. Maybe so. Milwaukee doesn't really have that, so maybe Milwaukee isn't an option.

New York would no doubt dangle Hughes and/or Kennedy, and possibly one of their middling though potentially high-upside hitting prospects, but if you believe what you read Cashman and at least Hal Steinbrenner, while possibly interested, aren't going to jump into things like the Yankees of old would have. They passed on Johan Santana. They may very well pass on C.C. Sabathia too, safe with the knowledge of course that they could simply pay to get him this winter if they really want to.

That leaves Tampa Bay. The first place Tampa Bay Rays. The potential American League East Champion Tampa Bay Rays. A team with a loaded farm system. A team who, more than anyone on this list, if they got Sabathia, could be said to have put themselves over the top. Can you picture a rotation of Sabathia-Kazmir-Shields-Garza over a four game series come August? Can you picture facing them over four games in the ALDS?

I bet Andrew Friedman can, and I bet he has Mark Shapiro on his speed dial.


Eric said...

while most red sox fans are curling up in a ball right now i'm actually really enjoying this rays team. i love the young talent finally starting to play up to potential and i absolutely love what friedman has done.

the rotation you suggested would be SICK (that's a baseball term).

it poses the question, though, would they be better served acquiring a better DH option (7th in AL in runs) or add to an already dominant pitching staff (sub 4 ERA.. 4th in AL)

TK said...

The way the Rays are built, with home-grown talent and team-friendly contracts, it just doesn't make sense to look at Sabathia as anything other than a rental. In which case, you don't want to give up much of anything. At that point, Cleveland would probably be better off taking the draft picks.

Anonymous said...

I'm so sick of Hughes and Kennedy being dangled as trade bait. People assume these guys are any good. They're not. They've shown nothing. Nada. Scratch. If anything, they have no trade value given their recent failures at the major league level.


Eli said...

Eric: I think they should do both. Trade for CC and sign Bonds. Give the Indians whatever the hell they want. I don't care about next year.... I have them at 175-1 to win the Series this year.

Andy said...

Hey, why not send Teixeira to the Rays too?

Justin Zeth said...

Yeah, I can't see how the hell the Yankees could offer anything that would interest the Indians. Tabata still hasn't really hit a ton, Hughes is injured, Kennedy just isn't much of a pitcher, Melky Cabrera's pretty well established as a fourth outfielder... the Yankees just ain't got the goods.

I don't know that the Rays are going to want to sell the farm for half a season of Sabathia, even considering the draft picks they'd be getting back... I don't know. I still think there's a significant chance the Indians can't get any offers they like, and just keep him and take the draft picks.

Anonymous said...


Don't forget, if the Rays want a hard throwing lefty they already have one: David Price, currently unhittable in the minors.

True, it's a big jump from the minors to MLB, especially in a pennant race, but paying 3 prospects, two of whom would be near MLB ready, for 2 months of Sabathia and maybe the post season, that's more than a team built from the inside is probably willing to do.

I'm thinking Sabathia goes for less than Shapiro wants, but more than the draft picks they'll get when he leaves at the end of the year.

Eric said...

eli - well played.. i completely forgot about bonds...

and i meant to touch on hughes and kennedy whose stock was way high before the season started but at this point would probably have to be worth.. not next to nothing... but close.

Mr. Thursday said...

Dear Craig,

All consensuses are "general".

With loving kindness,

Also, the Cubbies seem most likely, to me, to land CC.

Craig Calcaterra said...

Thursday: Good point. Irregardless of my edumacation, I still make mistooks like that on occasion.

Isn't it ironic?