Looking Back at the CC Sabathia Trade


Approximately 6 years ago, the Indians traded reigning Cy Young award winner CC Sabathia to the Brewers for four prospects. These prospects were Matt Laporta (the center-piece of the deal), left handed pitcher Zach Johnson, right hander Rob Bryson, and a player to be named. Thank goodness for that player to be named, Michael Brantley. Let’s take a look at what all of these players have done since the trade in 2008.

At the time, CC Sabathia might have been the best pitcher in baseball. The Brewers were looking for another pitcher to go with Ben Sheets, so they snatched up Sabathia when they had the chance. For Milwaukee, he started 17 games, threw 130.2 innings, had an ERA of 1.65, and a WHIP of 1.003. For the whole year, Sabathia started 34 games, threw 253 innings, had an ERA of 2.70, and a WHIP of 1.115. Those are outstanding numbers, but the Brewers were only able to keep him for a half of a year. After the 2008 season Sabathia signed with the Yankees, the club he is currently pitching for.

Matt Laporta was considered the center-piece of this deal. At the time of the trade, he was completely lighting up AA Huntsville. The Indians were hoping that he would become the power-hitting first baseman of the future. Unfortunately it didn’t turn out like that. In only 967 AB’s in an Indians uniform, he had a batting average of just .238, hit only 31 home runs, and had just 121 RBI’s. Since then, Laporta has been cut by the Baltimore Orioles, and is now playing in the Mexican league.

Zach Johnson was in Triple-A when he was traded to the Indians back in 2008. He threw a total of 63.1 innings for the Indians in the 2008 and 2009 seasons with a career ERA of 6.11, before being shipped to Toronto before the 2010 season. Like Laporta, Johnson never panned out in an Indians uniform.

Rob Bryson was pitching in Double-A when he was traded to the Indians. From 2008-2013, Bryson was pitching in the Indians minor league system. Bryson’s highest ceiling was a middle reliever out of the bullpen. After 2013, the Indians cut Bryson, and he is now a free agent. Like Laporta and Johnson, Bryson didn’t pan out in an Indians uniform.

The final piece of this trade was outfielder Michael Brantley. Surprisingly, Michael Brantley was considered a throw-in to this deal. Brantley was the only player out of this trade to have success in the big leagues. During his career with the Indians, Brantley has 2160 AB’s, a batting average of .280, 35 home runs, and 251 RBI’s. This season is when Brantley really started to transform into a star. This season, Brantley has a batting average of .307, 9 home runs (1 homer away from tying his season high), and 39 RBI’s. He is playing at a Mike Trout caliber level right now. If he can keep this up, he will be a star for the next decade in an Indians uniform.

So who won this trade, Cleveland or Milwaukee? Well, Milwaukee got a Cy Young award winner for half of a season, and the Indians got a budding star in Michael Brantley. I would give it to the Indians. However, If Sabathia had resigned with the Brewers, they would have won this deal.

– Jimmy Carcioppolo (follow me on twitter @CST_JimmyC)




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