So it finally happened. Last Sunday I walked in the door from work to the news from my father that CC Sabathia had been traded to the Milwaukee Brewers. I was not shocked by this news, however I was rather surprised that the trade happened this soon. I figured the Indians would wait as long as possible to get the best offer.
Having said that, I applaud the team for knowing exactly what they wanted, and going out and getting it. It was better then letting CC go and getting draft picks, then having to settle with a youngster you really did not know if he would pan out or not.
I wanted to write this a little sooner, but my head was swimming with thoughts this week, and I wanted to read up on this trade before hand. My thoughts?
First of all, I really do not see Zach Johnson as being a productive part of this team. Not with his stats at least. When you only win one game and lose five, and have an ERA over 6.00, those are not big league stats.
My best guess is that the Indians taking Johnson of the Brewers hands was part of this conditions of this trade. I do not think he will be able to be a prominant part of this team.
Now, the meat and potatoes of this trade.
Here were his stats at the time of this trade:
.283 batting average 20 home runs, 66 RBI. In addition to that, spanning his last two seasons, he has hit 32 home runs, 97 RBI, and has a .609 slugging percentage.
Now, the overall stats may not seem that impressive to you, but if you take the fact that the minor league season is not as long as the major league season into consideration, a good hard look into those numbers would suggest that he could be very special.
To further what I have said, many scouts believe that he is ready to make an impact on a major league roster right now. It's up to the Tribe to decide when that is. It is also said that he has a very good approach at the plate, and that while he is very good defensively, his keys to the big leagues will be his offense.
The only thing I do happen to find rather alarming about LaPorta (other then his debut this week at Akron when he went 3-6 in a doubleheader) was confirmed by listening to Bruce Drennian this week.
While many chasing a big league career would be thrilled to have his batting average, it suggests to me that he strikes out a lot. He will need to cut down on those, because you cannot expect to be as successful at the major league level and strikeout, and strikeouts are the very last thing this team needs at this point.
Perhaps what attracted the Indians to him is that he may be going to the Olympics with the Olympic team, and several players with solid big league career's have played with the USA national team aka Mark McGwire and a man we know very well around here Charles Nagy.
This kid could be the wild card of the trade to me. I am a big fan of solid bullpen pitching, and that's what you get with this guy. While it has been said he could be either a starter or a reliever, it looks like he would be best served to remain a relief pitcher, and it would benefit the Indians to keep him that way.
Here's why. Last season he had eight saves with a 2.67 ERA, and he struck out 70 batters in 54 innings. Hardly overlookable. This season he was used as a starter, and his ERA went up.
At the time of the trade, Bryson had a 4.25 ERA, but again most of that was as a starter. He has struck out 73 in 55 innings, with five saves, and since going to the bullpen, he has a 2.09 against average. They saw that he is all about arm strength.
If he is used properly, he could be a very big part of our bullpen, and it seems like judging by his stats his best work is done in relief.
My only question about this trade is why this team is so big on Tyler Greene, a third base prospect who figures to be the player to be named at a later date. If they are so big on Wes Hodges, who is another third base prospect in the organization, then why do they need him?
My only thoughts are maybe open competition during spring training for the position in the future.
Overall, I give the Indians a B+ on this trade. This is only because I really think they may have been able to get more had they held on, although I will not get ahead of myself and say they could have gotten Philip Hughes or Melky Cabrera, because I think that would have been unrealistic.
I am willing to give this trade it's fair chance, but this club does have a history of mishandling highly touted prospects. I don't think failure with this trade will cost Mark Shapiro his job, because of the love the Dolan's have for him, but failure should put him on the hot seat.