Thursday, September 4, 2008

Is Sabathia The Best Midseason Pickup Ever?

That's the question USA Today is asking, um, today:

Sabathia joins Doyle Alexander of the 1987 Detroit Tigers as the only pitcher in the past 90 years to win their first nine decisions after a midseason trade. Their runs are only rivaled by Rick Sutcliffe (16-1 for the 1984 Cubs) and Randy Johnson (10-1 for the 1998 Houston Astros) . . .

. . . "He's got to be the best midseason acquisition in the history of baseball," Braun says. The last midseason acquisition to approach Sabathia's production was Johnson in 1998 when he went 10-1 with a 1.28 ERA for the Astros after being traded from the Seattle Mariners. The Astros lost in the Division Series. "That was the best two months I've ever pitched," says Johnson, a five-time Cy Young winner, "and now CC is doing the same thing. He may take his game to another level. That's what happened to me. He may just take off."
By the numbers, Sabathia and Johnson are pretty darn close, though the edge goes to Johnson. Through 11 post-trade starts Unit had a 1.28 ERA to CC's 1.43, and Johnson had 30 more strikeouts in four fewer innings. The proof of which pickup was better, obviously, will be how far into the postseason pudding the Brewers go. The Astros lost in the first round of the playoffs to the Padres. If the season ended today, the Brewers would face the Mets (at least I think they would -- someone tell me if I'm wrong on how that works).

As of now, I like Milwaukee's chances.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

If you count the postseason - David Cone (and this is from sox fan)

Michael said...

Milwaukee's going to be interesting for 2009 though, without CC, Sheets and probably Fielder and Hardy.

Mike said...

Someone at The Hardball Times, Steve Treder I think, has done trade analyses by win shares, though I think he just looked at win shares accumulated overall with the new team -- not the win shares accumulated in the season traded. Of course, if you look at Sutcliffe, Johnson, Alexander and Sabathia by win shares accumulated in the season of the trade, Sutcliffe is going to win because he was traded earliest in the season.

Anonymous said...

Fielder and Hardy will both be with the Brewers next year unless the club decides to trade them (which is unlikely).

Jake (San Diego) said...

Yes, you're right. The WC team plays the non-division opponent with the best record.