Saturday, July 05, 2008


A couple weeks ago, ESPN's Buster Olney told the Baseball Tonight audience that the Milwaukee Brewers would be a contender to trade for Cleveland left-hander and reigning AL Cy Young winner C.C. Sabathia.

I laughed. My wife looked at me, and I said "No way we trade for a guy who we can't sign".

In my heart of hearts, I thought I was right. However, this is where I can sometimes get burned for spending no time whatsoever following the Brewers' minor-league system.

See, the Brewers' Double-A team in Huntsville is very good. So good that they had eight guys picked for the Southern League All-Star Game. And with that information as a backdrop, you can understand why Milwaukee appears to be taking their best shot at Sabathia.

Tom Haudricourt lays out the rest of the case, beyond the superb minor-league system.
The Brewers lost young right-hander Yovani Gallardo for the season with a knee injury on May 1, a devastating blow to their starting rotation. With right-hander Ben Sheets headed for free agency after the season and the future of first baseman Prince Fielder uncertain, the Brewers aren't guaranteed of being in this position a year from now. That situation heightened the urgency to find an established starting pitcher who might put them over the top, and they immediately targeted Sabathia.
Meanwhile, Buster Olney of explains why you make this deal, citing the Brewers' outstanding scouting and player development system.
The Brewers are a mid-market team that must rely on its player development to compete, so trading a star prospect like LaPorta would be a major sacrifice. However, rival officials note that the Brewers have an excellent track record in scouting and drafting and got a boatload of picks in the recent June draft. And if Milwaukee were to deal for Sabathia and then see him walk away as a free agent at year's end, along with Sheets, the Brewers likely would receive four compensation draft picks. "You might see them have five picks among the first 35 in the draft," said an NL official.
Wait. You mean we can take a shot at the World Series with two dominant starters, then give universally respected scouting director Jack Zduriencik five of the first 35 picks in next June's draft?

I'm sold. Let's go for it.

It's been 26 years for the Brewers. With Ben Sheets likely set to walk after the season, there's no harm in adding another pitcher who will also walk. Let Manny Parra, Jeff Suppan, and (gulp) Dave Bush or Seth McClung finish off the rotation. Besides Parra, the only pitcher in need of developmental time at the big-league level is Yovani Gallardo, and he looked very good before he was injured and lost for the season a month in. So you're not costing yourself any time that could be spent developing other players. Let Sheets and Sabathia anchor the starting rotation, and carry us as far as we can go.

Maybe, if we get this pitching staff to a certain level, it will be impossible for Ned Yost to screw it up.

No comments: