Revisiting the CC Sabathia Trade

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ATLANTA - AUGUST 2: C. C. Sabathia #52 of the Milwaukee Brewers pitches against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field on August 2, 2008 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)

The trade deadline is always an interesting time on the calendar. But there are those big trades that happen that alter the course of franchises. One of these trades happened on July 7th, 2008. This trade had the Cleveland Indians trading pitcher CC Sabathia to the Milwaukee Brewers. In exchange, the Indians would acquire pitchers Rob Bryson and Zach Jackson, first baseman Matt LaPorta, and outfielder Micheal Brantley. Looking back on this trade, one may wonder how it panned out on both sides. In the latest in our revisiting past trades series, this trade will be examined through what led up to the trade, the impact, and where the players are now.

Revisiting The CC Sabathia Trade

The Cause

With the Indians still behind the Minnesota Twins at the trade deadline, holding firm at second in the AL Central, it was time for them to start retooling. This trade was the first big piece to fall, and more than likely shocked a lot of Indians fans. The Brewers needed some starting pitching to shore up their rotation. They already had Ben Sheets, who had been pitching excellent that year, and Yovani Gallardo, who was on the disabled list. In order to get some more pitching power to prepare for the playoffs, the Brewers made this trade to acquire their newest ace.

The Effect

Sabathia would only spend that half of the season with the Brewers, but he would be unstoppable, collecting an 11-2 record, with a 1.65 ERA and 128 strikeouts. Unfortunately, Sabathia’s regular season success did not translate into the postseason. In his start in the NLDS against the Philadelphia Phillies, Sabathia was pulled after three and two-thirds innings. After finishing the year in Milwaukee, Sabathia signed a seven-year, $161 million deal with the New York Yankees on December 20th, 2008.

The Return

Bryson would not pitch a game for the Indians and he would remain in their minor league system until he retired in 2016. Jackson would pitch for the Indians for two years, totaling a 2-3 record with a 6.11 ERA in 63.1 innings pitched. LaPorta would play his entire career for the Indians. In his four years in Cleveland, LaPorta batted a .238 batting average with 31 home runs and 120 RBI.

Brantley has become one of the Indians’ biggest stars and a franchise player. In his time in Cleveland, Brantley has been a three-time All-Star in 2014, 2017, and 2018. He also won a Silver Slugger in 2014. In his ten years in Cleveland, Brantley has been a part of three straight AL Central division winners and has career statistics including a .295 batting average with 87 home runs and 528 RBI.

Final Thoughts

Looking back at this trade, as much of a star that CC Sabathia was, his acquisition didn’t amount to much for the Brewers. They would lose to the Phillies in the NLDS 3-1. Meanwhile, the Indians have now won three division titles with Brantley and made it to the World Series in 2016. This trade was a sneaky win for the Cleveland Indians. And if they get a World Series championship, Brewers fans may be wondering what might’ve happened if Brantley suited up for the Brewers.

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