It’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:
Los Angeles Dodgers
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.
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.