Tuesday, July 08, 2008

RE: The Case Against Sabathia

TD dropped the hammer on Eric in the comments, and it needs to be read:

I'm so tired of hearing the same wails of grief from people who can't
stand the thought of trading a prospect for, apparently, anything.

Last season we heard the knashing of teeth over losing Will Inman to
get a guy who had the potential to improve our bullpen down the
stretch. Joe Thatcher, who few even knew was involved in that deal is
the only guy in it that even has pitched a major league innning (or an
inning beyond AA for that matter). That deal didn't get the Brewers
where we all hoped it would last season. Thats the risk of making
trades. But I supported them when they made it back then, and even with
the advantage of 20/20 hindsight, I won't critcize it because it was a
chance worth taking. When Will Inman cracks the Padre rotation and is
winning 12-15 games a year, only then will I be willing to consider the
possibility that Melvin got fleeced in that deal.

Two years ago we had to listen to people cry about us giving up to much
to get CoCo back to Milwaukee in the Carlos Lee Trade, because we had
thrown in the next great outfield prospect, Nelson Cruz. Since getting
traded, Cruz has bounced back and forth between the Rangers and thier
AAA affiliate, and currently is hitting .235 with 9 HR's and 87 K's in
307 PA. Of course, it helped get CoCo here ... who had a great stint
here as closer, and helped get this team closer to a division title
than they had been since '92. I still think the Brewers did better in
that deal.

In the mean time, the list of 'can't miss' prospects the Brewers SHOULD
have traded while people still thought they were 'can't miss' prospects
and could have gotten something for them is pretty large ... Dave
Krynzel, Nick Nuegebaurer, Antone Williamson, Ben Hendrickson and
perhaps even Rickie Weeks, leap to the top of mind ... But I bet people
would have been appoplectic about trading them only a year and half
into thier development. Who knows, maybe if they had, or had been good
enough at the time to use them to leverage a potential difference maker
to get them to the post season, the Brewers wouldn't have gone 26 years
without a post season appearance.

For most of the early years of this decade all I kept hearing was 'Wait
for the group that is at AA to get the bigs ... This team will compete
for Championships'. Well that group is here ... has been for a couple
years ... and the window for that group is going to start shutting
rapidly. Sheets is going to be gone next year ... Fielder may be in the
next couple ... Rickie Weeks has not been the impact player everyone
insisted he would be (including me) ... and I suspect Hardy's years are
numbered as well. Are we as fans supposed to be happy that this team
has been semi-competitive for the last season and a half, and then turn
my attention to Huntsville and wait for the next surge of 'can't miss
players' to hit the major league roster so I can feel good about how
close they are, again?

Fuck that! Matt LaPorta might be a great Major League player some day.
He might just be ok, like Weeks, or he may disappear from the scene
faster than you can say John Jaha once he hits the show. What I do know
is that CC Sabathia is Cy Young winning pitcher that has been
dominating this season since about May 1. Adding him to a roster that
is probably good enough without him to make the post season, makes them
a contender for not just a post season birth, but a serious run at the
World Series. Thank God we had a guy like LaPorta available to get CC
into a Brewer Uniform. Thank God we have a General Manager brave enough
to have gone for it. Thank God we now have an owner willing to make the
financial commitment a trade like this requires. I love this trade, and
will even if they miss the post season and LaPorta goes on to win MVP's.

It was a trade they had to make. Its the type of move that Brewer fans
have been demanding they put themselves in postion to make since
Melvin, and later Antonasio, came to Milwaukee.

Look back to '82 ... The last time the Brewers made a trade like this.
They got Don Sutton for one month + the post season for Kevin Bass,
Frank DiPino and Mike Madden. Sutton went 4-1 in September and was the
winner in game #162 of the seasoon, the clincher that gave the Brewers
the AL East crown, and we know what happened from there. Is there
anyone that believes the Brewers would have won the AL East that
season, let alone the AL Championship, if they don't make that deal? I
don't know anyone that does.

Kevin Bass and Frank DiPino went on to have pretty respectable careers.
Bass was an All-Star in '86 and even got some MVP votes that year. He
played 13 seasons, most as a full time player. DiPino played 12 seasons
and was a Rookie of the Year candidate in '84. Some might say that on
paper the Brewers gave up too much for 1 trip to the World Series. But
I don't know a single Brewers fan that looked back on that trade after
that season and thought ... 'God! If only we had kept Kevin Bass! Maybe
we would have stayed competitive in the AL East longer into the 80's!'

At some point you have to say the future is now, and what might happen
next year or the year after gets worried about next year. They are in
the business of winning championships, something that hasn't happened
here in 26 years. If not this season, when? When Matt LaPorta MIGHT be
here? When Gallardo MIGHT return to form after major knee surgery? When
Prince MIGHT sign an extension?

Sorry, but if I can get a dominant #1 starter for a little less than a
half a year, and he makes us a legitimate World Series contender this
year, I'm not gonna whine about having to give up one ... ONE ... 'cant
miss' prospect in what everyone claims is a loaded farm system to get

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