1. CC Sabathia Puts The Brewers On His Back
Indians received: OF Michael Brantley, LHP Zach Jackson, IF Matt LaPorta and RHP Rob Bryson
Brewers received: LHP CC Sabathia
There are trades that change the course of a team for that season but this was an example of a transaction that had further implications for the Brewers. A winning culture was established for years beyond 2008 thanks to the acquisition of CC Sabathia.
While it was pretty well known this move would essentially be a season long rental, that didn’t lessen his impact. The Brewers had a playoff drought of 26 years and fans were thirsting for a return to October baseball. CC Sabathia came in and posted some ridiculous numbers. 11-2. 1.65 ERA. 1.003 WHIP. Seven complete games. Three shutouts. 128 strikeouts in 130 innings.
The man was an absolute workhorse and at times it seemed he single handedly willed that team to the playoffs. And from then on, Milwaukee wasn’t okay with mediocrity and the winning culture finally came to fruition.
The Brewers gave up a decent amount for Sabathia with the best chunk of the package being Michael Brantley who was actually the ‘player to be named later’ at the time the deal was struck. Brantley is currently a five-time All Star and has a Silver Slugger award to his name as well. He hasn’t posted a batting average under .300 since 2017 and that year he finished with a .299 ironically enough. He is a star in the league right now.
Matt LaPorta never made a huge splash in Cleveland, only playing there for four years and he finished his career there with just 31 home runs and 128 runs batted in. Zach Jackson played for the Indians for two years with a 2-3 record and Rob Bryson never made the big league roster.
David Stearns rarely leaves a stone unturned when an opportunity to make his team better arises. Hopefully if a move is made before this Friday, it can be looked upon and added to a list like this in the future.
Interestingly enough, as many good moves as Stearns has made at the helm of the Brewers, none of his trades have made this list.