If you're reading this, you know enough about baseball to have heard about the CC Sabathia trade already. My initial reaction came in four parts:
1. At least he didn't go to the Red Sox or Yankees.
Personal feelings aside, CC is only 28 and has a good chunk of his career ahead of him. The team he's going to also has a leg up on resigning him for the next year. The Indians still want to contend over the next few years. Giving Sabathia to Boston, New York, or any other AL contender would have been a sign that Cleveland didn't want to contend against those teams in 2009 and beyond. But by refusing to make their direct competition better, Cleveland has kept itself in the race.
2. Matt LaPorta? That's awesome!
Everything I've read about LaPorta, including this breakdown by MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo, suggest he's an absolute stud. The only question has been LaPorta's defense, but Mayo quotes an MLB scout who says that the prospect will be passable as a left fielder in the majors.
3. Why not Mat Gamel?
Gamel plays third base at AA for the Brewers, and is supposed to be just as good of a hitter as LaPorta. Some think Gamel (along with LaPorta) is Major League-ready. Why not ask for Gamel instead of LaPorta, especially when the current Indians outfield is already set, but the future at third base is still in question? Maybe, with current third baseman Bill Hall already all of 28 years old, Milwaukee sees Gamel as their own future at third. Or maybe it's a moot point, as Baseball America's Jim Callis reports that Gamel would be a liability at third.
4. Matt LaPorta? That's awesome!
Yes, I'm very excited about this.
The Other Prospects
Jonathan Mayo also gave a quick rundown of all the known prospects included in the trade. Let's Go Tribe's summary post can be found here. From their understanding, the PTBNL will be the second best guy the Indians receive, which is great news.
The Indians have lost a great player. Fausto Carmona played like an ace in 2007, but he's not at CC's level yet. Plus there's the question of his control issues. Then again, Sabathia was always questioned for his poise and control issues until he put together his Cy Young season last year. So maybe Carmona can develop to that level. If not, who's to say that the Indians don't trade a few prospects for a Cy Young winner in a few years?
One thing that is certain - the road to the playoffs is a lot easier if you have two aces on your staff (as contradictory as that sounds). Cliff Lee won't always pitch like he did at the beginning of this season, but he should pitch well, so resigning him is a high priority.
Where does this leave the Indians?
As Victor Martinez and Travis Hafner age, they will become role players to the "new core" that features Carmona and Grady Sizemore. Sizmore is signed through 2012 (Carmona a few years more), so the goal should be to reach the top with this current team before then.