Tag:CC Sabathia
Posted on: November 10, 2008 4:06 pm

Braves expected to pursue Burnett and Dempster

The Braves still believe they have the best offer out there for Jake Peavy, even as some people in baseball believe that the Cubs are the favorites to land the San Diego right-hander. But even as they try for Peavy, the Braves are also making plans to go after other starting pitchers.

That includes free-agent right-handers A.J. Burnett and Ryan Dempster, according to sources.

Burnett, who opted out of his contract with the Blue Jays, is expected to have many suitors. The Yankees, who have more money to spend than anyone else, are sure to be involved.

Dempster is believed to favor a return to the Cubs, who would like to keep their 17-game winner.

But the Braves are serious about upgrading their rotation, as general manager Frank Wren told my colleague Scott Miller at last week's GM meetings in California.

"We need a couple of starters," Wren said. "Maybe even more than that. I'd like to beef up our rotation. That's the area we've been known for."

Wren wouldn't talk specifics, but people who have talked to the Braves say that only CC Sabathia is definitely out of their price range. The Braves aren't interested in Ben Sheets, but sources said they will talk about any other free-agent starters.

Posted on: November 4, 2008 1:38 pm
Edited on: November 4, 2008 1:43 pm

Should the Brewers even want Sabathia to sign?

Good for the Brewers for making a big-money offer to CC Sabathia. They had to do it. And now he has to tell thanks, move on, and wait until the teams with real money are allowed to start making their bids.

We all know Sabathia isn't staying in Milwaukee. The truth is, they shouldn't even want him to stay, not at the $20 million or more they presumably offered.

Sabathia was perfect for the Brewers in 2008, when they only had to pay him the prorated portion of his $11 million salary for the final three months of the season. But how in the world do you fit a $20 million salary, especially for one starting pitcher, into the $81 million payroll the Brewers had in 2008?

But the Brewers payroll will rise in 2009, you say. Sure it will, but how high?

Only 12 players in baseball made even $16 million in 2008. Of those 12, eight played in New York (five with the Yankees, three with the Mets). Three others began the season with the Red Sox, Mariners and Angels, three other teams with payrolls of $117 million or higher. Only Todd Helton of the Rockies made as much as $16 million for a team with a payroll under $100 million.

Yes, Sabathia changed the baseball culture in Milwaukee. The trade was a fine idea, and it worked out, even though the Brewers lost to the eventual champion Phillies in four games in the Division Series.

But signing Sabathia to a contract that would keep the Brewers from being able to build a team around him wouldn't have been a good idea.

You can bet the Brewers know that. They had to make him a big-money offer, and good for them for doing it.

Sabathia had to reject that offer, which he no doubt will. Good for him, and good for the Brewers, too.


The Giants haven't been talked about as a serious player in the Sabathia free-agent market, but one scout wondered this week what would happen if they could land him.

"Look for San Francisco to be the up-and-coming team in that division," the scout said. "Two years from now, that team could go deep into the playoffs. If they got Sabathia, they might do it next year."


While the Yankees search for pitching at the general managers' meetings in Dana Point, Calif. (a search they hope will bring them Sabathia), there was some good Yankee news out of the Arizona Fall League on Monday.

Phil Hughes pitched five shutout innings for Peoria, allowing just one hit, with no walks and eight strikeouts.

At least one (non-Yankee) scout who attended was very impressed.

"He was very good," the scout said. "He commanded his fastball very well. People forget that he's still only 22 years old. He should be a senior in college right now."

The same scout said that Braves right-hander Tommy Hanson, who hasn't allowed a run in 13 2/3 AFL innings, is the most impressive player in the league this year.

Hanson is the pitcher the Braves have refused to include in their trade discussions with the Padres about Jake Peavy.

Posted on: October 3, 2008 5:03 pm

Yount: These are great times for the Brewers

The question that is getting asked about the Brewers is a simple one:

Was it worth it?

Was it worth going for it all this year, when there's a real chance now that all they'll get out of it is one home playoff game at Miller Park? Was it worth it, with the very real likelihood that both CC Sabathia and Ben Sheets are headed out the door via free agency the moment this postseason ends (which could be Saturday night)?

Was it worth it? Robin Yount says absolutely, it was.

"Hey, it's been a long time since this organization has been able to feel anything like this," said Yount, who returned to the organization as bench coach when Dale Sveum replaced Ned Yost as manager. "You can see the excitement all around town. Everywhere you go in Milwaukee and Wisconsin, that's what they're talking about again. And it's great to see, because these people here have such a passion for this stuff. To get them this far, they feel like, 'Hey, we've done something!' "

Yount isn't giving up on this series with the Phillies, even though the Brewers trail two games to none and need two wins just to give Sabathia another chance. But Yount also believes that Brewers fans will appreciate this team, even if the postseason run doesn't end well.

"Hey, we didn't win the World Series (in 1982), and you would have thought we did when we came home (from St. Louis)," he said. "We were treated like we were world champions, even though we didn't win. I don't think there's too many places that would have accepted the team back in quite that manner. I'm telling you, this place has got something going for it."


Yes, Yount did hit against Jamie Moyer, the 45-year-old who starts Game 3 for the Phillies. He went 3-for-11, with four walks. Sveum also faced Moyer; he struck out once and was hit by a pitch in his other plate appearance.


In Chicago, they're wondering if Alfonso Soriano and Aramis Ramirez are reliving last year's playoffs. Neither one drove in a run last October, as the Cubs were swept out of the playoffs by the Diamondbacks. Neither had an RBI as the Cubs lost the first two games to the Dodgers this week.

But if you think the big guys have to hit for a team to win, you haven't seen the Phillies. Ryan Howard and Chase Utley combined for just one hitt and two RBIs in the first two games against the Brewers, but the Phillies won both games.

"We had other guys step up," manager Charlie Manuel said. "That's kind of what a team is about."

Utley and Howard were a combined 5-for-23 with one RBI last October, when the Phillies were swept by the Rockies.

Posted on: September 30, 2008 1:36 pm

Scott's wrong -- but not on everything

The great thing about awards is that you can argue about who deserves them. And the great thing about the 2008 awards for me is that for the first time in almost 20 years, I don't have an actual vote on any of them.

That means I'm completely free to tell you what I think, and you're completely free to totally ignore it.

And as much as I respect Scott Miller, I'm also completely prepared to tell him where he's wrong.

You can read Scott's picks for the postseason awards here, if you haven't already.

To save time and avoid repetition, I'll just say I agree completely with Scott on the AL Cy Young award (Cliff Lee), and on both managers of the year (Joe Maddon, Lou Piniella). I agree with him on both rookies of the year (Evan Longoria, Geovany Soto), although the AL decision is a tough one, with Longoria getting just a small edge over Alexei Ramirez.

No argument on executives of the year, either (Andrew Friedman and Doug Melvin).

Of course, those were the easy picks.

The MVPs were the tough ones. Too many candidates in the National League, not nearly enough in the AL.

But think about who had the most effect on this season. What will you remember about 2008?

In the NL, you'll remember how Manny Ramirez changed the Dodgers into winners, and how CC Sabathia did the same for the Brewers. You'll remember all those Ryan Howard home runs that put the Phillies over the top in the East. I'd put all three of them of them ahead of Albert Pujols, who had a very nice season but only turned the Cardinals into fringe wild-card contenders. The MVP: Manny.

In the AL, Dustin Pedroia is a nice pick. But it's the wrong pick, because Francisco Rodriguez's 62 saves made the difference this year. Sure the Angels won by about 50 games, but if you don't think a closer can be valuable, ask all those teams that are sitting home in October primarily because they didn't have one. The MVP: K-Rod.

That leaves the NL Cy Young. I admire what Tim Lincecum did. I love Sabathia. But Johan Santana didn't lose after June, and he nearly pulled a flawed Mets team into the playoffs. Yes, I know that Sabathia DID pull his team into the playoffs, but I'll give the edge to the guy who was there all year. The Cy Young: Johan.


Posted on: September 24, 2008 7:38 pm

Santana on 3 days' rest? Not likely

The Brewers pitched CC Sabathia on three days' rest in his last start. They're doing it again tonight, and plan to do it again, if need be, on Sunday.

The Mets have not done the same thing with Johan Santana.

In fact, even though the Mets don't yet have a starter for Saturday, manager Jerry Manuel said it's very unlikely that he would bring Santana back on three days' rest (and then pitch Oliver Perez on three days' rest on Sunday).

"I wouldn't go short with him unless he just took the ball and started the game," Manuel joked. "He'd have to do quite a job on me. That being said, I could be had. But I probably wouldn't do that."

Manuel said he thinks some pitchers are more suited than others to pitching on short rest.

"There's a lot of fight in (Santana)," Manuel said. "I don't know if he'd be the same on three days."

It may be irrelevant, anyway. The Weather Channel says there's a 100 percent chance of rain in New York Thursday night, and heavy rain is in the forecast for Friday and Saturday, too.

Posted on: September 11, 2008 6:28 pm

CC: No home in California -- yet

As Scott Miller wrote last month, CC Sabathia has spent some time house-hunting in Southern California, but he hasn't yet bought a house there.

I know this is still true because I asked Sabathia about it today.

"No house," he said with a smile.

Does that mean that Sabathia is more open to considering teams from outside California when he becomes a free agent later this year? I don't know, and he won't say. I'd still bet that his first choice would be to sign with a team out West, but if the money is a lot bigger elsewhere (i.e. New York), his first choice could change. He doesn't have to make the decision now.

And now, a few e-mails:

I don't think I got anything from angry Yankee fans this week, but I could be wrong, because there was this from David: "You should probably think about what u are writing before u write it cuz obviously u meant that the Mets had a psychological advantage over philly and maybe take an english class. i am a college student."

Huh? Not sure whether this guy is an angry Yankee fan, or an angry USC student.

From F.: "The Mets win 10 of 16 from the Phils, and lose one game and now it's a collapse? The only thing that collapsed is your hairline."

Now I get it. This week, it's angry Mets fans. A little sensitive, are we? I think the reference was to the 2007 Mets collapse. Or maybe you didn't consider that a collapse.

From Bart: "I'm sick of hearing about this collapse garbage when the Phils went in and strong-armed the division off the Mets (last year)."

A little sensitive in Philly, too? Well, maybe the Phils will strong-arm the Brewers this weekend and you'll be happy.

From Matthew: "Boston is not the better team. You need to admit that the Rays are for real. Stop being a Boston apologist."

Who knew that there were angry Rays fans? Who knew that they were Rays fans? Actually, I like the Rays. What a great story.


Category: MLB
Posted on: August 19, 2008 11:48 am

Sabathia is 8-0, but pitch counts are worrisome

You couldn't help but notice that CC Sabathia threw another complete game for the Brewers on Monday night. You couldn't help but notice that Sabathia is 8-0 with a 1.60 ERA in nine starts since the Brewers acquired him from the Indians.

You also couldn't help but notice that Sabathia threw 130 pitches -- in a 9-3 win over the Astros.

According to the great play index at baseball-reference.com, the 130 pitches is a career high for Sabathia. Not only that, but Sabathia has now topped 120 pitches three times for Milwaukee. In his last 3 1/2 seasons with the Indians, Sabathia topped 120 pitches just three times -- twice in 2006 and once earlier this season.

Sabathia told reporters that the high pitch count Monday wasn't a big deal, because he has an extra day of rest before his next start, and two extra days after that.

It's not a big deal. Not unless it contributes to Sabathia getting hurt.
Category: MLB
Posted on: July 17, 2008 5:31 pm
Edited on: July 17, 2008 7:27 pm

Trade talk, and answering questions

It's no real surprise to see Tony Clark going from San Diego back to Arizona. Clark is from San Diego, but he has lived for years in the Phoenix area and very much wanted to get back there. The Diamondbacks needed help off the bench, and also the veteran presence that Clark brings, and the Padres have reached the point where they realize they don't have a chance this year.

There were those in baseball who thought Arizona would be a possible destination for Mark Teixeira, should the Braves trade him. Like Clark, Teixeira has a home in Arizona, and could possibly have been interested in staying there long-term. But Arizona didn't want a full-time first baseman who would take at-bats away from Chad Tracy and Connor Jackson. The Diamondbacks were encouraged by the 25 runs they scored in the final four games behind the All-Star break, and convinced themselves that at this point their offense doesn't need the big-time boost from someone like Teixeira.

It's also no surprise to see the Phillies trade for a pitcher, even though Oakland's Joe Blanton was far from their first choice. The Phils were looking for a difference-maker, and it's hard to see Blanton being that kind of pitcher. The one plus is that he normally pitches a lot of innings, and the Phillies might score enough runs to help him succeed.

Other talk circulating in the baseball world today:

-- The Mariners continue to be open for business, and there has been some talk that they would even be open to dealing young shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt. But one official who has spoken to the Mariners said he was told Betancourt was one of four players the M's wouldn't talk about, with the other three being Ichiro Suzuki, Jeff Clement and Brandon Morrow.

-- The Rays' interest in Rockies closer Brian Fuentes has been talked about for days, but a baseball official said Tampa Bay has also talked to Oakland about Huston Street. The Rays are also in on Casey Blake, who could well be traded by the Indians.

-- Even after trading for CC Sabathia, the Brewers are well-positioned if they want to make another deal. Matt LaPorta was the key piece in the Sabathia trade, but one scout said LaPorta was no better than the fourth best prospect on Milwaukee's Double-A Huntsville club. "(Third baseman Mat) Gamel is an impact guy, and so is (shortstop Alcides) Escobar," the scout said. "And (outfielder Michael) Brantley has a chance to be an All-Star. For a lot of people, including us, LaPorta is going to be no better than an average everyday player."

-- One other Milwaukee player to watch is shortstop J.J. Hardy. The Blue Jays are very interested in him, and some people believe that if Dustin McGowan hadn't gotten hurt, a deal could have been made (the Brewers aren't interested in Burnett). There's still a chance, those same people believe, that the Jays could pursue Hardy this coming winter.

-- The Tigers haven't been saying very much about Dontrelle Willis, who was sent to Class A Lakeland more than a month ago (and more recently was in Detroit to have his knee examined). The word is that in Willis' workouts in Lakeland, his control hasn't been any better than it was in Detroit. People familiar situation said Willis has been doing a lot of running, trying to take off some of the weight he has added.

-- While the White Sox are telling people that they're satisfied with their team and unlikely to make any significant moves, there are those who wonder whether they'd deal shortstop Orlando Cabrera, who will be a free agent at the end of the year. Whether he's dealt or not, it's unlikely Cabrera will be with the Sox next year, because rookie Alexei Ramirez is expected to take over at short, his natural position.


Some e-mails, and some quick responses:

From Josh T.: "Did you even watch the (All-Star) game? Did you see any other pitcher pitch? Did you see the defense on each side? All you can talk about is the freakin' Yanks and Boston"

Let's see, the All-Star Game was at Yankee Stadium, the MVP plays for Boston. No, I can't figure out why anyone would have written about the Yankees and Red Sox. You're right. Next time, I'll be sure to feature someone who had a bigger effect on the game. Cristian Guzman, maybe?

From Jason: "You're an idiot to suggest that CC Sabathia isn't an All-Star because he didn't make this year's team. I could make a team out of the players not on this year's (All-Star) roster and beat them in a game."

Sorry, but if you don't make the All-Star team, you're not an All-Star. If you don't believe me, then try to collect that All-Star bonus in your contract without being named to the team.

From Scott: "I don't understand why you included the pitcher from Kansas City (Zack Greinke) in your (On The Block), other than for filler."

We included Greinke because the Royals are willing to talk to other teams about him this month. No, he probably won't be dealt, because it would take a huge package to get KC to actually make a deal, but we thought it was interesting that they're even willing to discuss him.

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