August 2, 2014

Oh Look, More Sabathia Trade Rumors!

C.C. SabathiaIt’s been about two or three days since we’ve last touched on the possibilities of C.C. Sabathia being traded out of Cleveland.  Paul Hoynes recently mentioned that the Tribe is in no hurry to find a suitor, which is actually surprising news.  Somehow, I have a feeling that Mark Shapiro is fielding (and making) phone calls every day – after all, it is his job – but to say that the brass is not “seeking” shows that we still have all of the leverage in this deal.

And leverage is good. 

While we’ve already mentioned the possibilities of C.C. heading to the Cubs, Red Sox and Yankees, we are starting to see a few other teams tossing their name in to the crooked hat: Philadelphia, Milwaukee and Tampa Bay.

Regarding the Philadelphia Phillies:

This rumor was started not too long ago by ESPN’s Jayson Stark.  Sabathia’s name was grouped in with a few other arms (like A.J. Burnett and Bronson Arroyo), as Philly continues to aim for rotational improvement.  Given that, I’m sure Phillies fans are simply salivating at the thoughts of having C.C. paired with Cole Hamels.  Those two could compete for the NL strikeout title for the next five years.

The only big problem is in the trading pieces that are listed on the side of city of Brotherly Love.  I’ve seen names like Shane Victorino (energetic, not much pop), Jayson Werth (having a heck of a year, but…) and Carlos Carrasco.  Carrasco is intriguing (top prospect in the Phillies org, top-50 per Baseball America), but he definitely wouldn’t help us now as he’s 21-years old and is in Double-A ball.  Doing very, very well, but it’s still Double-A.

Odds are, they’ll settle for one of the non-Sabathias – and given what they’d be giving up, it makes sense to go that route.

Regarding the Milwaukee Brewers:

Baseball’s version of Chad Ford, Buster Olney, steps to the plate earlier this week with his current ranking in the “Sabathia Sweepstakes.”

If the C.C. Sabathia trade rumors were a horse race, as of today these teams would be the favorites:

  1. Milwaukee Brewers
  2. Chicago Cubs
  3. Los Angeles Dodgers
  4. Texas Rangers
  5. Boston Red Sox

Really?  Intriguing to say the least, given that I hadn’t even considered Milwaukee in the past.  Given their history of recent early-round selections, the Brewers have build quite the team through their farm system.  And while Indians fans should just forget about mentioning guys like Ryan Braun or Yovanni Gallardo, there is a name that actually has me pretty excited about the prospects of a deal: Matt LaPorta.

LaPorta is an outfielder/first baseman that is the top prospect in Milwaukee’s system.  He was the seventh overall selection in 2007 and was actually invited to spring training for this season.  Obviously, Braun, Corey Hart and Prince Fielder are huge road blocks in his assent to the majors, so trading him for someone that could help your team now (a la Sabathia) could be in the talks. 

He’s currently hitting at a clip of .294/.603/1.011 for Double-A Huntsville, with a team (and league) leading 19 home runs.  It sounds like corner outfield power to me, something we could use.  His teammate, third baseman Mat Gamel has 15 home runs and is hitting .371/.632/1.064, so I wouldn’t count him out either.  I’d be willing to listen to the MIL brass if 1) I was Mark Shapiro and 2) if either Gamel or LaPorta were considered trade-able chips.

Regarding the Tampa Bay Rays:

The Rays?  Man, who thought these guys would be contending this soon?  I knew they had a heck of a farm system as well, but man.   The Sabathia-to-Tampa Bay rumors seem to have been started by Baseball Prospectus’ John Perrotto

Via Rays Bay:

The Indians still haven’t declared themselves buyers or sellers in the trade market, but among the teams reportedly lining up to trade for left-hander C.C. Sabathia should he become available are the Yankees, Phillies, Cubs, Red Sox, Rays, and Angels.

You can forget Evan Longoria and B.J. Upton.  Cross off Carl Crawford, James Shields and Scott Kazmir.  Signing Sabathia without giving up one of their current starters could vault the Rays to the top of the MLB in terms of rotations.  But do they have anything else to trade since it sounds like everyone is hands-off?

I doubt that the Rays will be giving up David Price as his slider could be called up as early as this fall.  Jake McGee and Wade Davis are decent pitching prospects, but they would need to be packaged with considerable talent to garner Sabathia. 

Of course, could Tampa Bay re-sign the big man given a trade?  I’d say that the prospects of an extension would be not likely.  Given that, I wouldn’t put the Rays any higher than a blip on the potential radar.

Meanwhile, fans of the Yankees, Sox and Cubs are still attempting to come up with the pieces that they think can get the job done. 

  • http://the700level.com enrico

    What would you want in return from Philly? And do you think Sabathia would be willing to sign a deal in Philly?

  • http://www.waitingfornextyear.com RockKing

    This is from Buster’s blog yesterday:

    “A rival executive suggested this for the basic framework of a deal: The Brewers could send Prince Fielder to the Indians for Sabathia, with Cleveland including something else in the trade. The Indians would land the kind of impact bat they could build around for the next three years, and the Brewers would land the frontline pitcher they need this year (plus a prospect) without touching their terrific group of position-player prospects. At some point soon, the Brewers are going to have to figure out what to do with Fielder, a Scott Boras client who does not appear close to signing a long-term deal. And if they traded Fielder, the Brewers could try to plug the first-base hole with one of their prospects or a short-term solution from another team.

    Interesting idea. Pure speculation. Almost certainly will never happen. But it’s the kind of creative thought process most teams go through at this time of year as they consider the questions of buying and selling. Odds are that if the Indians trade Sabathia, they will opt for prospects rather than someone established (and expensive) like Fielder. This is the kind of deal they made in swapping Bartolo Colon.”

    So, we can take that for what it’s worth. If the Indians trade for a Boras client, though, I’m going to be pretty let down.

  • MoBot

    Trading for Fielder would pretty much negate any savings the Indians would get in the “buffet expense” department should C.C. be shipped out of town.

  • http://www.waitingfornextyear.com Scott

    @enrico: That’s the thing…I’m not sure you guys have what we need. Like I said, Carrasco is a good start, but I think the Indians would also want something that could help now – which likely wouldn’t be found in Werth/Victorino. I’m a big fan of both as players, but I’m slowly starting to think that the team is becoming more comfortable with Sizemore/Francisco/Gutierrez/Choo. They’re going to go hard for an infielder, whether it be 1B 2B or 3B.

    @RockKing: I would almost rather have Gamel or LaPorta given their contract situation. I’m not sure who represents either of them, but Boras goes against pretty much anything the Indians believe in. I don’t think the Millwood situation ended as well as some believe, and could possibly be why the team hasn’t gone after Holliday very hard.

  • http://www.waitingfornextyear.com RockKing

    I wish collusion was allowed in baseball so MLB could force agents like Boras out of the game. Sure, he works wonders for his clients…..at the expense of the teams and baseball in general, and by extension, the fans.