If you think the CC trade was a bust, think again
The year was 2008, and with the trade deadline looming the Cleveland Indians were going nowhere fast. Facing an opportunity to deal the reigning Cy Young winner, CC Sabathia, or lose him to free agency, the Tribe agreed to a deal with the Milwaukee Brewers with the centerpiece being Matt LaPorta, who one scout described as “can’t miss.”
"He's a great kid," the scout said. "His make-up is off the charts. His plan and approach at the plate is good. It's just a matter of experience. He's got a good swing, a great approach, good discipline. Everything is right on line to be a solid contributor at the Major League level."
It seemed like a great deal for both teams at the time, with the Indians also receiving AAA pitcher Zack Jackson and hard throwing Rob Bryson, along with a player to be named later (PTBNL).
Milwaukee couldn’t complain about the results, as Sabathia was ridden like an overworked horse down the stretch, going 11-2 with a 1.65 ERA to propel the Brewers to their first playoff appearance since 1982. They lost in the first round, and, as expected, Sabathia bolted to the Yankees’ greener pastures of cash.
As for the Tribe? LaPorta never saw the success that was expected of him, as he battled injuries and inconsistency which has left him a 28-year old on the verge of becoming a journeyman role player. Jackson always was a bit of a throw-in and never had much of an impact for any team, and Bryson’s promising career as a flame throwing reliever has hit the snag of injuries as well.
So, it was a total bust for the Indians, right? They can’t ever do anything right. But wait, don’t forget the PTBNL…remember, the player to be named later.
Just as drafting one player over another can make or break a particular draft, scouting and player analysis is huge in making a proper deal as well. The CC Sabathia trade was no different.
Rumor had it that the final piece of the deal was the Brewers 2007 Minor League Player of the Year, 22-year old third base prospect Taylor Green. That would sweeten the pot a bit for the Indians, as the PTBNL was said to be the key to the deal along with LaPorta.
As it turned out, the Indians had a list of players from which to choose for the PTBNL, and whittled it down to two in Green and light-hitting outfielder Michael Brantley.
They chose Brantley.
And if you can imagine the ancient Knight in The Last Crusade speaking to Indiana Jones (Mark Shapiro) after he picked the correct cup (Brantley)…”You have chosen wisely.”
While Green has seen very small parts of two seasons with the Brewers, it has only resulted in a struggling .207 batting average and three home runs. Brantley, meanwhile, hit the ground running in 2009 with Cleveland and has been a solid contributor while showing a penchant of clutch hitting with runners on base.
Initially sought for his keen eye at the plate that resulted in getting on base frequently, coupled with great speed once he got there, Brantley was thought of as a potential lead-off hitter of the future once Grady Sizemore was moved into more of a run-producing role.
As it turned out, Brantley has become a potential threat to drive in runs as well, as his frame has filled out and slid into the middle of the Indians’ order quite nicely.
So three seasons later Brantley has quietly done whatever has been asked of him and done it well, all at a very young age. He will turn 26 in May (nine months younger than Green), and is one of the core players the Indians are looking at to extend into their free agent years.Coming off of a strong 2012 campaign, he seems on the cusp of a major breakout season.
Complain if you must when the Indians fail to make the correct decision in every deal they do or do not make. But you have to realize that rolling the dice on the unknown future of minor leaguers in their teens or early twenties is a gamble no matter what side of the table you are on. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, but the house (every team other than yours) always comes out ahead. But that’s because the house is comprised of 27 teams and you have only one.
As for the CC Sabathia trade, as in any other, time has a way of providing clarity. Players move from one team to another, become free agents, superstars and busts -- the process all seems very fluid. And as Indiana Jones figured out, the cornerstone of a deal that has the glow of a golden chalice may seem to have more value than it actually does, while a lesser piece may become like the priceless cup of a Carpenter.
Would you take Michael Brantley for three months of CC Sabathia? I would.
The Red Sox 2,3,5 and 9 ranked top prospects this season were all 2011 compensation picks, and Bradley is their opening day LF
I will give you Matt Albers and maybe even part of Bryan Shaw.
So, Lee for CC, Marson and Albers.
You never know. If they let Shapiro trade Albers to the Mariners maybe he can even out the deal.
I thought this was a really good read and I agree Brantley is a very good player. BUT, to try and act like Jason Donald was an important part of getting Trevor Bauer is kinda silly. I mean sure he played a very small part but the deal would have been made with or without him so I don't really think you can't all of a sudden add Bauer as an offshoot of the Lee trade.
Short sighted implies that there is something I am not taking into consideration. I don't think thats the case. I really love Carlos Carrasco and think Lou Marson is a better back up catcher then maybe anyone around here but we still should have gotten more for a couple years of Cliff Lee.
Knapp is gone and so is Jason Donald. So, actually Carlos Carrasco and a back up catcher is exactly what we got for Cliff Lee.
Brantley is very unappreciated by Tribe fans. All he did was have the best BA on the team last year at 25 years old.
Isn't it March of 2013?
Brantley is a successful part of this team. Do we really still weigh him against Sabathia? Did we ever?
LaPorta's been "gone" for two years really. Sabathia's been gone for nearly five.
Brantley is a solid contributor.
Perhaps we can figure out a way to enjoy THAT, without having to quantify it against Sabathia.
Let it go.
I still think a lot of people expect way too much in these big trades. Time has proven that some of the smaller ones (Blake for Santana, Perez for Cabrera, Broussard for Choo, Fermin/Jefferson for Vizquel often times end up the bigger deals). Trades like the Joe Carter deal or the Colon trade are very rare, and should not be the standard. They are the exception.
On the other hand. If I was KC I wouldn't have dealt Meyers. I do understand why they made the trade but I don't think I could have pulled the trigger. The idea of having this lineup next season would have been too much for me to pass up.
1. Cain/Dyson CF
2. Escobar SS
3. Gordon LF
4. Perez C
5. Butler DH
6. Moustakas 3B
7. Hosmer 1B
8. Meyers RF
9. Colon 2B
With Getz and Francouer off the bench.
Thats mouth watering potential.
I'm trying to refrain from bitching about moves that the FO makes because I'm wrong half of the time anyway. I bitched about Beau Mills & was right. I didn't like it when they drafted Kipnis & was waaaaay wrong. So I'm not going to bitch anymore...except about Naquin. Damn, why did the draft NAQUIN??? Hope I'm wrong about that one too.
God, how bad would that deal have been if they didn't make the playoffs? Scary. They should have got way more for Lee. Carlso Carrasco and a back up catcher is not enough.
Its weird. Shapiro was able to turn Einar Diaz into Travis Hafner, Ben Broussard into Shin Shoo Choo, Eduardo Perez into Asdrubal Caberera and Casey Blake into Carlos Santana but couldn't get better deals for CC and Lee?
historically if you look at major deals involving a starting pitcher they tend to have several cant miss prospects involved. the CC deal only had one cant miss prospect, and guess what... he missed.
while we are on the topic of the royals, look at the deal for greinke going to the brewers... the royals got alicedes escobar, lorenzo cain, jake odrizzi and jeremy jeffress... the royals gave up a lesser pitcher but at least got to impact everyday players in return with jeffress being the only bust, and the jury still being out on odrizzi and sabathia was worth way more at the time of the deal then greinke was at his time of deal.
plain and simple, you wouldnt trade in your brand new corvette for a mini van that breaks down every month and a couple of new tires yet get excited cuz the van gets good gas mileage... plain and simple we got burned and the only saving point has been the limited success of brantley
We would be heading into the 2013 season with CC as a great anchor to our rotation, but who would be playing the outfield? We wouldn't have Brantley, obviously, and the money used to sign Bourn and Swish would obviously be locked up in CC's contract. So we would be heading into the season with some combination of Stubbs/Carrera/Fedroff/Duncan/Francisco/Canzler playing the outfield, Reynolds at 1B, and no regular DH.
Knowing what we know now, I would definitely still make the trade. Therefore, it can't be called a bust.
Still the Indians didn't get the best return. They've made worse deals but this one hurt.
I think people assume for some reason that if we hadn't traded CC, he would still be pitching for us. He was GONE after 2008 whether we traded him or not. We were not in contention when he was traded (about 13 games under .500 if I remember correctly), so those 16 starts would not have made any difference for the Indians.
The way I look at it, we traded 16 ultimately meaningless starts from CC for 7 years of a solidly above average LF/CF. It's not an *amazing* return, but it is definitely a solid return.
We are spoiled and our standards set too high based on the Colon trade, a deal that is extremely rare. If a team gets even two prospects in any of these deals to pan out, it is considered a great trade. The wash out rate of prospects in these deals is significant. Had LaPorta been what he could be and Brantley just do what he is now, this goes down as a good trade. LaPorta's failure is what ultimately really hurts this deal, brantley just saves it from complete peril. In the end, it ends up a poor trade simply by the fact that the Indians were unable to capitalize on an asset and get the two mandated players needed to make good on it. Same thing with the Lee deal.
The ability to whiff on both the CC and Cliff Lee trades set back this team for years. The CC trade remains a bust....just not a complete bust thanks to Brantley's solid if unspectacular performance so far.
not sure what angle john mast is playing here, but i cant agree here...