November 2008

Where, oh where, will my CC end up?

With the market officially open for business at 12am today, I’ve been feverishly checking the Hot Stove reports to see what might become of, not only CC Sabathia, but also the whole host of other free agents.

The $100 million, 5-year contract supposedly extended by the Brewers to CC will probably end up sounding like chump change compared to what other clubs are able to offer. The Yankees have looked into CC, as well as Ben Sheets, and have reportedly offerered Sabathia $140 million for 6 years, the most lucrative contract for a pitcher in baseball history. Now, I know money can’t possibly be the only thing that CC’s got to consider. He’s got a family, he’s from the West Coast, he wants to be part of a playoff contending team. But quite honestly, $40 million will probably make anyone do just about anything, including a cross-country move to play for one of the most revered teams in all of baseball.

Now, if Manny Ramirez doesn’t re-sign with the Dodgers, that leaves a big gap in their payroll that just might enable them to make a contending play for Sabathia. If that’s the case, playing for a West Coast club will hugely factory in to his decision. Not to mention the fact that the Dodgers, under the helm of former Yankees manager Joe Torre, made it to the NLCS this past season.

Something does need to be said about Sabathia’s second half performance with the Brewers, though. Had he not pitched the way he did and helped propel Milwaukee into the playoffs, would he be THE free agent on the market right now? I don’t know. Now that’s not to say a Cy Young award-winning pitcher doesn’t deserve the consideration he’s getting otherwise, but would $140 million be on the table if CC was still with Cleveland?

If CC Sabathia does indeed reject Milwaukee’s offer, which, come on, it’s pretty likely, that leaves the Brewers in dire need of some starters. Ben Sheets will hopefully not be an option, so that will leave a couple holes in the rotation. There are a couple other question marks that will need to be addressed as soon as CC makes his decision, but we’ll deal with that when it gets here. For now, I’ll keep my eyes and ears open to find out what Sabathia will end up doing. I hope he considers this city and its fans and how grateful we are for everything he did in the final months of the season. Unfortunately that won’t be the deciding factor, but we all hope it will pull at his heartstrings a little. Maybe. We’ll see.

Oh yeah, congrats to Ryan Braun for winning the Silver Slugger! He’s the second Brewers in as many seasons, joining Prince Fielder. Ryan successfully avoided not only the sophomore slump, but also a position change and still managed to get voted on top of all other left fielders for that honor. Way to go, Braunie!

New Manager, New World Champs, New President

It’s been awhile and I have many things to touch on. Let’s start with the changes going on in the Brewers organization.

Ken Macha has been tagged as the new manager for the Brewers for the 2009 season. I don’t know much about him. I think as the weeks go by leading up to Spring Training, I’ll get to know him a bit better. And once February rolls around and trades have been made, new names added to the roster and invites to camp sent out, I’ll have a pretty good guage of whether or not Macha will be a good fit. So far, I can’t complain. I don’t know yet if leaving Dale Sveum out of the mix was a good choice, but I like that he’s still on the coaching staff. I think he’ll do a nice job as hitting coach. Jim Skaalen had been doing a great job, seeing as the Brewers are a power club, but his time was up and I think Sveum will be a nice replacement. Brad Fischer at 3rd base is another guy I’ll have to bone up on. So far, I think the coaching staff is looking okay, though.

There are some roster spots up in the air with Craig Counsell and Guillermo Mota officially filing for free agency. A utility infielder and bullpen spot shouldn’t be that hard to come by though. The big worry is starting pitching, with our number one CC Sabathia and close second Ben Sheets testing the market. The club is ready to part with Sheets, and good riddance as far as I’m concerned. But Sabathia is a much bigger loss for the team. If the offer is indeed in the ballpark of $100 million for 5 years, I think the Brewers will more than likely lose CC. I think we all knew the good ride had to come to an end sometime, but at least they can say they tried. A little part of me thinks maybe he’ll stay because of what he was able to accomplish with the club in such a short period of time, but it’s a pretty little part. Like a teeny, tiny part. Personally, I think Jake Peavy’s short list should really include the Brewers. He seems like he’d be much more attainable and would definitely be an asset. But what do I know? I’m just a fan.

Enough about the Brewers. There’s still too much to be decided in the next few weeks to be too concerned just yet. Congratulations are in order for the World ******* Champions, the Philadelphia Phillies! (I had to quote Chase Utley on that one. Love that guy!) They played like champs the whole way through. Cole Hamels is one of the greatest talents on the mound that I’ve seen in a long time. And Brad Lidge was on fire all season, including the biggest moment of saving game 5 after a 2 day postponement. And way to go Geoff Jenkins, batting 1.000 in his first World Series! True, there were some hiccups on the part of the umpiring squad, mostly in favor of the current Champs, but all in all, exciting baseball. And definitely congratulations are in order for the Tampa Bay Rays, too. Being one of the smallest media markets going nearly all the way to the top is a gigantic accomplishment.

And last, but most certainly not least, America has finally decided that enough is enough and voted a Democrat back into the White House. Congrats to Barack Obama and Joe Biden! Last night’s election is one for the history books, for sure. I don’t know that I’ve ever really said out loud that I’m proud to be an American (mainly because of that cheesy song), but last night really did make me proud. January 20th will be a great day.