As more information emerges concerning the Brewers’ acquisition of CC Sabathia and the Yanks’ seemingly failed effort to land him this weekend, we’ll be able to piece together something of a narrative concerning the deal. We at RAB will also put this story to rest soon, but some interesting pieces of information are trickling out right now.
Unlike the Santana deal, we have no idea what the Yankees were offering for Sabathia. While, as I noted before, the asking price started with Phil Hughes, we’ve yet to hear the rumors of who else would have gone to Cleveland. But we know why the Indians turned down the Yanks, and it seems to have less to do with prospects and more with the Yanks’ approach to the deal.
Jack Curry clues us in:
In adding Sabathia, the Brewers beat out the Phillies, who were also willing to make the trade without requiring a window to negotiate a contract extension. The Yankees had discussions with the Indians, but were unwilling to make a deal unless they could sign Sabathia beyond 2008. The Yankees will probably be serious players in trying to sign him when he becomes a free agent after the season.
Sabathia could ask for an extension that is close to what the Mets gave Johan Santana (six years, $137.5 million), so the chances that he will remain with the Brewers are slim. Melvin was realistic about the future and said, “Most trades in July are going to be rentals.”
Sabathia rejected a four-year, $72 million proposal from Cleveland last spring.
Because Melvin knew Sabathia might be with Milwaukee only briefly, he wanted to trade for him as soon as possible. In making the deal Monday, Milwaukee can start Sabathia twice before the All-Star break. He was 5-3 with a 1.93 E.R.A. in his last 11 starts.
The Yankees were not about to sell off their top-rated prospects for just three months of CC Sabathia. According to Curry, when the Indians, who have long held this position, notified the Yanks that the team would not receive a 72-hour window to consummate a long-term deal, the Yankees seemingly backed out. I’m intrigued by this tidbit because, if true, it seems as though the Yanks were willing to part with some prospects if the parameters of the trade were similar to the Santana deal. While Brian Cashman told Tyler Kepner othwrise, the Yanks might have been willing to give up the youngsters for CC Sabathia and a long-term deal.
With this in mind, I believe these revelations strengthens my earlier proposition: If money is the only obstacle in signing Sabathia in the fall, the Yankees are the front runners. Of course, money isn’t the only obstacle; Sabathia has to want to come to New York. But we’ve already dissected that argument.
Meanwhile, one commenter earlier today suggested that the Brewers could sign Sabathia, but again, Curry’s article pretty much puts a nail firmly into that coffin. Doug Melvin, the Brewers’ GM, seems to recognize that Sabathia is a three-month rental and admits as much to Curry. If Milwaukee — a team that can’t really afford a five- or six-year, $100+ million contract — is attempting to pull the trigger on a deadline deal this early in July, the word “rental” seems more apt than anything else.
For now, the Sabathia Saga Part I has drawn to a close. The Brewers are primed to become serious contenders, and CC has a home away from the AL, away from the AL East, for the remainder of the 2008 season. Where he will in 2009 is anyone’s guess, but the team soon to inhabit a new stadium in the Bronx will be exerting a full-court press in their efforts to woo him this offseason. You — and CC — can take that one to the bank.