C.C. you soon?
If there is one thing Cubs fans love (besides large-chested woman, cheap booze and old men with microphones who have an undying love for the North Side), it’s trade speculation.
Yes we sure do love playing fantasy owner with our real players and within the confines of the realistic baseball landscape…except that we tend to completely ignore the intelligence and existence of our potential trading partners and their fan base.
“Marquis for A-Rod. The Yankees would be dumb not to do it. They need the pitching.”
Anyway, as I’m sure many of you have been able to tell from this blog, other Cubs blogs and every other form of mass media in Chicago, the Cubs may have their eyes on Cleveland Indians ace C.C. Sabathia.
The hefty lefty is currently 5-8 with a 4.26 ERA (although he has been pitching much better in his last few starts…actually looking like the reigning AL Cy Young winner) for an Indians team that is only 5.5 games out of first place in the AL Central.
While the Indians can in no way be consider out of the race (we all know the White Sox are going to implode some time this season…and it will be oh so glorious), the Cubs will surely express their interest in acquiring C.C. with a fleet of MLB-ready players just chillin’ down on the farm.
While I’m sure we’d all love to send the amazingly talented, upside-laced, knee-buckling curveball thrower Rich Hill (Sounds pretty good doesn’t it Indians? You can trust us. Seriously.) for a Cy Young caliber player who is almost guaranteed to leave in the offseason anyway, it’s just not that simple.
So to have some of our questions about the potential C.C. trade of totally awesome awesomeness answered, I decided to take a page out of Byron’s playbook and ask a few questions to Indians blogger Ryan of Let’s Go Tribe…
(Let’s assume Lee, Ramirez, Soriano, Zambrano, Marmol, Soto, Fukudome are probably untouchable in Hendry's eyes, but everyone else is fair game in a potential deal with Cleveland.)
Question: If the Indians were to trade Sabathia to the Cubs, who would YOU WANT them to get in return?
Ryan’s Answer: Best case scenario, a major-league player or a prospect that's at worst a year away, with third base, second base, and corner outfield being a priority. Given that Jake Westbrook is going to be out a least a calendar year, a starter would be nice as well. If I'm allowed to be irrational, Sean Gallagher would be ideal (young, MLB-ready, low service time). And as far as I'm concerned, quality >>>> quantity - I'd much rather receive back one or two good prospects than five mediocre ones.
Question: If the Indians were to trade Sabathia to the Cubs, who do YOU THINK management would get/ask for in return?
Ryan’s Answer: I'm sure they'd be asking for any of Chicago's top prospects/young major-leaguers, with emphasis at the positions mentioned above. Whether they can get what they ask for depends on how many other clubs are seriously interested in Sabathia. And I'm pretty comfortable in predicting that there will be at least several clubs seriously interested in CC, including several who have the cash to keep him after this season. That means at least the best MLB-ready prospect in any system. I doubt we're ever going to see a Randy Johnson-type haul again (even the big markets value their prospects now), but Sabathia would be a huge upgrade for any team, even those with good starting pitching already. That means any player not contributing to the major-league club should be on the table.
Question: How do you think C.C. would fit in with the Cubs and the National League? Do you think he would want to go to Chicago? Would he bolt at the end of the season? Would he consider signing a long-term deal with the Cubs after the season or at the time of the trade? (OK, so this is like 4 different questions…but who’s counting).
Ryan’s Answer: Barring a crazy contract offer, Sabathia's going to test the free agent market - he's come this far, he'd be a fool to sign this close to free agency. CC loves hitting, so he'd actually like being in the National League. And although, all things being equal, he'd like to stay in Cleveland or go to the West Coast, I doubt he's going to limit his earning potential by ruling out anybody. I would go on the assumption that trading for Sabathia would get you nothing more than 3 months of Sabathia plus draft picks.
Question: What is the general feeling among Indians fans about trading C.C. and getting something in return instead of letting him walk away at the end of the season?
Ryan’s Answer: If the Indians are out of it (10+ games back in both races at any time from now to the deadline), I think most fans are resigned to trading Sabathia if the return is good enough (in other words, better value than the two draft picks could give you).
So as far as I can tell from Ryan’s opinion, it seems likely that the Indians would probably be seeking Sean Gallagher/Rich Hill and a combination of young position players like Matt Murton (for the outfield), Josh Vitters (for third base) or maybe even Eric Patterson (for outfield or second base). Perhaps you could even put Felix Pie into the mix despite his continuing struggles in Iowa.
So for recaps sake, here is the list again…
All of these players are MLB ready/proven or could be ready within a 1-2 years (Vitters probably needs the most development time).
But now the eternal baseball trade question still remains: How much of your team’s future are you willing to accept giving up in order to have the best chance at winning the World Series.
Of course those words (World and Series) mean a little something extra to Cubs fans…so I’m more than willing to trade just about everything outside of the core players…
Or we could just give them Marquis. That’s a great deal for everyone.