Over the past few weeks, many sources around Major League..."/> Over the past few weeks, many sources around Major League..."/>

Thoughts On The Sabathia Speculation


Over the past few weeks, many sources around Major League Baseball have made it very clear that Indians pitcher C.C. Sabathia has been placed on the trading block. These same sources seem to think that the Angels could be and are one of the front-runners in the race to acquire him before the July 31 trade deadline.

I, however, remain skeptical of that happening.

The Angels have stored up a large number of very good prospects recently, and that seems to be the fuel to this fire. Though adding Sabathia to the Angels rotation would make it the most lethal in baseball, it seems that the Halos are putting more stock in the return of Kelvim Escobar than trading for another hurler.

Sabathia has been a very good pitcher throughout his career, although he has been a tad overrated. He’s only 27 years old (he turns 28 next month) and he has over 100 wins in his career, but his ERA has always been a little bit high. His best season came in 2007, where he compiled a 19-7 record with a 3.21 ERA, fanned 209 batters in 241 innings and won the American League Cy Young award. This year, however, has been a different story. Sabathia has looked like a completely different pitcher in 2008, going 6-8 with a 3.78 ERA up to this point. In his last 4 starts, Sabathia has looked like his old self, going 3-0 and only giving up 4 runs in 32 innings, while striking out 36 batters. If he continues this trend, he’ll finish this year as he has every other season – with a winning record.

Let’s take a look at what would happen if the Angels did trade for Sabathia. By adding C.C. to the starting rotation, the Angels would form the best 1-2 combo in baseball, as well as the best starting rotation in the game. Assuming that Kelvim Escobar stays in the bullpen as a long reliever and Jered Weaver is included in the trade that nets Sabathia, the Halos would probably throw out a rotation of Lackey/Sabathia/Saunders/Santana/Garland. If that doesn’t scare every team in the league, nothing will. That rotation would have a combined record of 38-20, an ERA of 3.17, a WHIP of 1.166 and 356 strikeouts at this point in the season. Talk about dominance…

However, Angels GM Tony Reagins has repeatedly stated that he won’t make a trade just to make a trade. He only looks at trades that will help the club and in no way hurt it. He’s also recently stated that he plans on continuing the time-honored Angels’ tradition of standing pat at the July 31st deadline. Would this trade help the club? It all depends on what Kelvim Escobar can do when he returns, if Jered Weaver can turn his season around and what the Indians would want in the trade for Sabathia. You can bet that they would want Jered Weaver in the trade, along with one of Mike Napoli or Jeff Mathis and 2-3 top shelf minor leaguers. You also have to consider the cost of signing Sabathia to a long-term contract, which may be as high as Johan Santana’s recent contract with the Mets (6 years/$137.5 million). Does the benefit of Sabathia in the starting rotation outweigh the steep cost of obtaining him? Ask me again in October.

After looking at the all the stats and the possible cost of C.C., I would be very surprised if the Angels pulled the trigger on this trade, if they are even considering it. Kelvim Escobar, by all accounts, has been throwing very, very well, and he looks to be back sometime next month. Theoretically, if Weaver is unable to improve his season, the Angels could place Weaver in the ‘pen as a long reliever and place Escobar in the starting rotation. Having Escobar back in the rotation would reunite the dominant 1-2 combo of Lackey-Escobar that won 37 games for the Halos last year, and would also give the Angels arguably the best rotation in the game.

I think the Angels would do well to pass up on Sabathia and wait for either Weaver to come around or Escobar to return.

And that’s just fine by me.