While there still is no solidified ground as to what address CC Sabathia will be playing his baseball in over the next month, there has been enough press to know that he could be on the move. I wanted to quickly discuss my thoughts of trading for Sabathia. I think that if you are a team that is a World Series contender right now (Cubs, Angels, Red Sox, Rays) then adding Sabathia may have some merit, because he would no doubt put those teams at a decided advantage looking towards October. If it is a marginally competitive team that needs starting pitching (Yankees, Mets, most everyone in the NL East or NL West) then I argue that this trade does not make sense.
Sabathia is more than likely going to become a free agent at the end of the season which will give Cleveland two draft picks in the compensation rounds of the amateur draft because of his status as a Type-A free agent. This means that if Cleveland is going to trade him, they are going to seek a value higher than the two draft picks he would give them if he finishes out the season with the team that was a few outs away from going to the World Series in 2007 and could still turn things around in 2008. Mark Shapiro will absolutely seek a huge package in return and after already declining big money to stay in Cleveland, this is going to be a 3 month rental for a player that will likely cost two or three top prospects, perhaps more if there is a bidding war. If only the Red Sox, Brewers, Rays and Yankees can put together a package good enough for the Indians, it would certainly not make sense to have a small or mid-market team land Sabathia because of the near dead weight loss Sabathia would be on their franchise if he departs at the end of the season. Rays and Brewers people should be positioned to set their teams up long term with depth in the minor leagues and have been committed to that for a couple of years now. If that were to change now, it would be a bad business decision to suddenly jump ship on the plan that has been in place and has shown to be successful. No matter how tempting Sabathia may be to these clubs, stick to the gameplan...please. Let the Red Sox and Yankees decide if they want to spend more.
I believe that Sabathia could be traded, but I do not think that he should be. The price is too high to pay on a rental player of at best, three months. One final note is that Sabathia's list of suitors this offseason is going to be potentially a very long list, a lot longer than the potential trading partners that the Indians currently have. He will be testing the waters of free agency almost undoubtedly.