Milwaukee Brewers Say Goodbye to CC Sabathia, Plot What's Next

Jesse MotiffSenior Analyst IDecember 10, 2008

The CC Sabathia sweepstakes has come to an end, and the New York Yankees were the winners.

Actually, CC was the winner. I'm still convinced he wasn't thrilled about pitching in New York and made sure the Yankees' organization knew that so they would sweeten the pot for him. CC got a seventh year, $20 million extra dollars and most importantly, an opt-out clause after the third year.

CC will make $69 million the next three years, and still only be 31 when he can leave New York and have a second chance at going home.

At that time, Barry Zito will have two years left on his current deal with the Giants. I think CC ends up pitching in San Francisco after all to pitch close to home, just like he wanted all along.

I'm sad to see Sabathia leave, but I hold no grudges against him for signing with the Yankees. He got everything he wanted out of them and more. I thank him for the memories he provided me and countless Brewers' fans. I only hope that if the Yankees do make the playoffs that he pitches better than he did for either the Indians or Brewers. If he doesn't, he has no idea what lies in store for him with the New York media and fan base.

It also sounds as if the Brewers are on the verge of losing Ben Sheets too, possibly to these same Yankees.

The Yankees signing Sheets would be a terrible scenario for the Brewers, because we would only get one first round draft pick from the Yankees. I still think the Brewers should talk to Sheets and see what his asking price would be for a two or three year deal.

Now that CC has signed, things should start to pick up for Doug Melvin and the Brewers.

Signing two starters would be great, but I think they can get by with signing one quality starter for Spring Training and then maybe make a trade later in the year if they are still in contention.

Here are my thoughts and ideas of what Melvin should do:

First off, I would trade Mike Cameron to the Yankees for Ian Kennedy and Melky Cabrera or whatever package might be out there for Cameron. Trading Cameron will take his $10 million salary for 2009 off the books, and give Melvin a bit more flexibility to work with free agents and other trading partners.

Next, I’d sign Adam Dunn and move either Corey Hart or Ryan Braun to centerfield.

I would think Dunn could be had for about $12 million a year. He will provide another left-handed bat, which Melvin has been looking for. The defense will no doubt suffer without Cameron, but I think our offense would prove to be one of the best in all of baseball.

We obviously need to find a quality starter and there are still a few out there on the free agent market. I'm a fan of Brad Penny and would love to see Melvin throw a one-year contract at him for maybe around $6-8 million.

If that were to fall through, Randy Johnson is out there and I have read numerous reports that the Brewers have interest in the Big Unit.

Although the rotation will never look as good as it did last year with CC and Sheets, a rotation of Gallardo, Penny, Parra, Bush and Suppan is capable of competing in the NL Central. If need be, Mark Attanasio has shown he will spend extra cash on a pitcher to put the team over the top.

There have also been reports of Melvin looking for a closer.

Brian Fuentes, Trevor Hoffman, George Sherrill and JJ Putz have all been linked to the Brewers at one time or another.

I'm not a huge fan of Fuentes or Sherrill, simply because I don't like the match-up of having a left-handed closer on teams. Both Hoffman and Putz slipped up last year and saw a downturn in the number of saves each had.

Hoffman might be worth a one-year gamble much like Melvin did with Eric Gagne. Thinks can't go any worse with Hoffman than they did with Gagne, right? Putz scares me a bit. I'm guessing Jack Z. would want one of our young bats and I just don't want to give up Hardy, Hart or Fielder for a closer.

I still would like to see Seth McClung get a chance to be the closer for the Brewers next year. McClung was clutch for the team down the stretch last year. McClung went 1-1 with a 1.10 ERA in 16.1 innings, giving up only two earned runs for the Crew in September. He struck out 17 and walked only nine.

Why not give McClung the first few months to see if he's capable of handling the job? If he can't, you have Jorge Julio as an option and Melvin could then make a trade for a closer if need be.

Doug Melvin definitely has his work cut out for him now that he lost out on CC Sabathia. Luckily, he still has enough to work with that he can keep the Milwaukee Brewers at or near the top of the NL Central in 2009.

Get to work, Doug!