Since Steven replied ever so quickly to IPL’s mailbag request, I have decided to dedicate a post to your question. On to Steven’s question:
I’m ready to throw in the towel on Laporta, and Brantley is only so so…are you ready to officially declare the C.C. trade a disaster? I think I am.
The date was July 8th, 2008. I can remember rushing home in an attempt to check ESPN.com to see if it was true. And after just a couple of clicks on google, there it was: The Indians had accepted a deal to trade talented ace C.C. Sabathia to the Milwaukee Brewers in exchange for prospects.
At first, I was angry at Cleveland management. After all, C.C. was a homegrown player who was “one of our guys” from the beginning. I think the fan base as a unit knew that C.C. would likely depart for free agency at the end of the ’08 season, it was just that we all wanted it to end the right way in 2008. Unfortunately, the team struggled out of the gate, causing the Indians to be forced into trade discussions the Brewers. When the dust cleared from the trade, this is where we stood:
A player to be named later: Michael Brantley
A couple months of C.C. Sabathia
OF Kentrail Davis- He was the supplemental first round pick the Brewers received as a result of C.C. signing with New York
My question is, who REALLY won this trade? Did either team win? Perhaps they both lost, but it seems as if the Indians are still reliving this awful deal every season. It is easy to see that the centerpiece of the trade was none other than Matt Laporta. Widely recognized as one of the games top power prospects at the time, the Indians seemed pleased to have acquired their first baseman of the future in July of 2008. In defense of Cleveland, Laporta was regarded as a masher who put up excellent numbers in the minors. Consider his stats while in the minors for Milwaukee (courtesy of Baseball-reference.com):
2007- 23 Games- 10HR, 27 RBI’s .318 BA
2008- 84 games- 20HR 66 RBI’s .288 BA
And even check out his numbers in the Indians system in case you may have forgot:
2009- 93 Games 17 HR 60 RBI .299 BA
Then, came the big call-up. To be honest, I am attempting to avoid making this a statistical piece (although I find it extremely difficult to not rant about the numbers) but I must mention the two key eye-popping Laporta facts.
- For his career (2009-2011), Laporta has an average wins above replacement (WAR) of 0.2. Understand that a value of zero means that the player is equal to that of a replacement type player from AAA. Basically, what I am alluding to here is that Laporta has been of no more value to the Indians as any other AAA outfielder.
- Matt Laporta has had 444 at-bats at Progressive Field for his career. In games at Progressive Field, he has hit .218, with 38 BB compared to 111 SO’s. Considering that players should be most comfortable playing at home, Laporta has traditionally put up terrible numbers playing in front of the home crowd. His road splits are what has carried his sub-par stats thus far.
As for C.C., it is safe to say that he has worked out pretty well in New York. In his three seasons with the Yankees, C.C. has posted WAR’s of 4.3, 5.0, and 6.9. For anyone keeping score at home, here is the WAR comparison:
Cleveland: Laporta and Brantley averages for 3 seasons: 0.2 + 1.3= 1.5 WAR
C.C. Sabathia’s average for 3 seasons since being dealt: 5.4 WAR (It is important to understand that a WAR of 5.0 or above is considered All-Star caliber.)
To summarize the trade, the Indians dealt away an All-Star candidate and Cy-Young winner for two players who’s performance to date has not added up to even one starting position player. I vote that the deal was a disaster, but not without pointing out that the Tribe whiffed even more the following season with the horrible Cliff Lee deal; however, that is the topic of a future post. With that point, I declare the C.C. Sabathia trade of 2008 to be a disaster Steven. Thanks for the question!
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