I recently wrote a guest post for TradeToad which is a website that covers all trades in professional sports. I wrote a post on the trade of CC to the Brewers in 2008 in exchange for Matt LaPorta, Michael Brantley, Zach Jackson, and Rob Bryson. You can find the post on TradeToad here, or just read it below.
Following their ALCS run in 2007, the Indians fell apart in 2008. They were on their way to another rebuilding year and were looking to acquire prospects through trades.
The obvious player to trade was CC Sabathia, who was the Cy Young award winner in 2007. He was sure to bring in offers from teams that included many talented prospects. The Brewers were the team that eventually gave the Indians the best offer, as they included four prospects for CC.
The Brewers received CC Sabathia and sent first baseman Matt LaPorta, outfielder Michael Brantley, pitcher Zach Jackson, and pitcher Rob Bryson to the Indians. The trade was beneficial to the Brewers in the short term, but in the long term the Indians benefited the most.
The Brewers made this trade to help them reach the playoffs, and the addition of CC achieved that goal. The only problem was that they were eliminated in the first round and CC left at seasons end to join the Evil Empire in the Bronx. It was essentially the Brewers giving up four prospects for three months of CC. They have not been to the playoffs since.
The Indians have not reached the playoffs either, but they are utilizing the players that they received in the trade. Besides Rob Bryson, the players acquired have seen time in the majors.
Matt LaPorta was the most known player in the deal, as he was a first round pick in the 2007 draft. He played on the 2008 Olympic team and quickly rose through the minors. He reached the majors in 2009 and has not played up to his potential thus far. With the Indians he has a career average of .231 with 19 home runs and 63 RBI’s.
LaPorta was the Indians opening day starter at first base this season, but catcher Carlos Santana will also see time at first base this year. LaPorta must prove himself on offense before he will be an everyday starter.
Michael Brantley was not as hyped as LaPorta, but the team expects great things out of him in the near future. He started this season in center field, but the return of Grady Sizemore will see Brantley moving to left field.
He has yet to play in a full season for the Tribe, but 2011 should see him achieve that goal. In his short career with the team he has hit .266 with 35 RBI’s. He also has 14 stolen bases. Once he matures into his leadoff role, he should become one of the Indians top hitters.
The other two players acquired were both pitchers, Zach Jackson and Rob Bryson. Jackson pitched in 12 games for the Indians in 2008-2009 and started 10 of those games. He did not impress the front office and was dealt to the Blue Jays after the ’09 season. He is currently in the Rangers organization.
According to the Indians Prospect Insider, Bryson is the #27 overall prospect in the Indians farm system entering 2011. He spent 2010 in AA Akron and will likely open 2011 there as well.
Looking at where the Indians and Brewers are now, the trade was obviously a poor choice for the Brewers. They did reach the playoffs in 2008, but CC left and so did four of their top prospects. The Indians knew that CC was likely to leave the team anyway, so it was a great trade on their part.