Goatriders of the Apocalypse

Sabathia Redux

As was discussed yesterday, C.C. Sabathia is now a Milwaukee Brewer. Reportedly the Brewers were able to get a deal done because they had a uniform his size already available. (Yeah, that was cheap. I’m sorry.) The package is reported to be “Class AA outfielder Matt LaPorta, Class AAA left-hander Zach Jackson, Class A right-hander Rob Bryson and a player to be named.” Outside of LaPorta, the PTBNL is probably the biggest part of the deal – it could be one of several very good prospects the Indians want some additional time to scout. (PTBNL are chosen off a list predetermined by both teams, so the Brewers can’t just forward some 28-year-old Midwest League non-prospect.)

His updated ZiPS projection is a 3.48 ERA, 101 innings pitched. Now let’s presume that the Brewers take this opportunity to move Dave Bush to the bullpen (they could also move McClung to the pen instead, but McClung has been more effective.) Bush projects to have a 4.76 ERA in 85 IP. I’m taking a shortcut here, but I’m filling the rest of those innings with the average ERA of the Brewers pen, 4.07 – so Bush/bullpen hybrid would put up a 4.65 ERA in those innings.

Using some formulas from Tango, I have Dave Bush’s win percentage pegged at .464. Sabathia, meanwhile, is a .596 win percentage pitcher. Assuming 101 IP is correct, that’s 1.48 wins more than Dave Bush. (This doesn’t factor in improvements in the bullpen – but I really don’t feel like resorting to the utter witchcraft that is bullpen projections, so I’ll pass that for the time being.)

This is why I caution that trade-deadline moves are overblown; so much of the season is already passed, that it becomes harder and harder to find a meaningful upgrade.

Also, I want to add – we lead the Brewers by more than a game and a half at this point. Sabathia alone won't give them the division. I know being a Cubs fan is like being some constantly-jilted woman, and we're always afraid of disappointment. On plenty of Cubs sites, I see a lot of handwringing and self-flagelation.

Please, for your own sakes, get over it. Find some Cubbie swagger, commit to the Indian, whatever you want to call it. We're a first-place team right now in the best division in the NL. The Brewers are doing this because they aren't happy with where they're at in relation to us. Take it as a compliment; we have a good team and they know it. And they have a good team too, and this should be a good race. (The Cardinals should attend to themselves.) So let's enjoy the summer.

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