If the reports are true and C.C. Sabathia is indeed heading from Cleveland to Milwaukee, Indians general manager Mark Shapiro deserves a pat on the back.
Sabathia definitely needed to be traded for several reasons. Number one, he is going to be a free agent after this season and it was not likely that the Indians would be able to re-sign him. Since they were probably going to lose him anyway, it makes a lot of sense to trade him now and get something in return. Reportedly, the Indians are going to get big-time prospect Matt LaPorta and possibly more prospects from the Brewers for Sabathia.
Washington Nationals general manager Jim Bowden made a huge blunder two years ago when he decided not to trade Alfonso Soriano at the deadline despite the fact that Soriano was going to be a free agent. Bowden thought the Nationals would have a good chance to re-sign Soriano, but he instead took a big pile of cash from the Cubs. That left Bowden and the Nationals with nothing.
Give credit to Shapiro for seeing the writing on the wall with Sabathia and getting some quality players when he had the chance.
I also believe the Indians are smart for not making an effort to re-sign Sabathia. The Indians are smart for parting ways with Sabathia now and not making the effort to re-sign him. Sabathia is a good pitcher. Is he an elite pitcher? I don’t think so. What is worrisome about his long-term success is his weight. He carries at least 275 pounds on his frame and there have not been many pitchers in baseball history that have been able to sustain success over a long period at that type of weight.
It is always tricky to project how a pitcher will fare down the line. The San Francisco Giants made a huge mistake a couple of years ago for throwing a ton of money at Barry Zito. Zito has had to fight just to stay in the Giants’ rotation this year. I fear that Sabathia is headed the wrong direction as well.
He has already showed signs of a downward spiral with his inconsistent season this year. The Indians are doing themselves a big favor by saying goodbye to him instead of attempting to re-sign him to a big contract.