Historical precedent for the C.C. Sabathia deal

(editor’s note:  this article is submitted by Tom Wilson, an old APBA buddy from years ago.  Let us know if you like it.  He may be writing more for The Baseball Zealot in the future. -tbz)

In the summer of 1987 The Detroit Tigers were in a pennant race. Like most modern era teams, pitching was the backbone of the club, and the priority in the player aquisition market. On August 12th, 1987, the Tigers traded a little known pitching prospect to the Atlanta Braves for proven veteran starter Doyle Alexander.

    The Tigers were not disappointed with their trade. Doyle Alexander went 9-0 in 11 starts with a 1.53 E.R.A for the team.  While Detroit lost 4 games to 1 to Minnesota in The American League Championship Series, in the old 2 division league format, their season was not considered a failure.

    The Atlanta Braves were not disappointed in the trade either. In 1987 they were not close to a division championship. In giving up Alexander they were looking for youth and toward the future. In 21 year old John Smoltz, they received both.  Through 20 seasons, 13 division championships, 4 pennants, and 1 world series championship, John Smoltz has been the leader of the Braves.


    On Sunday, July 6th, 2008, the Milwaukee Brewers pulled the trigger on a similar “win now” trade.

    The Brewers, currently four and a half games behind the Chicago Cubs, aquired last years American League Cy Young award winner C.C. Sabathia from the Cleveland Indians. The trade marked the first time in a decade that a reigning pitching mvp was traded (Roger Clemens 1998).

    In return for Sabathia, The Indians received young pitchers Rob Bryson and Zach Jackson. Eventually, the Indians hope these two young arms will help the club contend if not at least climb out of the basement of the American League Central.

    In addition to the pitchers, the Indians also received OF\1B Matt Laporta. At least in my mind this is the aquisition that brings up the possibility of the 1987 Tigers-Braves trade comparison.

    Laporta is the SEC all time home run leader, the single season home run leader, he hit .323 for the Florida Gators. While his speed and defense would be catagorized as average,his quick bat has made up for his defenses and has had his college and minor coaches declare him “professional ready”

    Laporta, Milwaukees 2007 1st rd (7th overall pick) was hitting .288 with 20 home runs with AA Huntsville at the time of the trade.

     Only time will tell if this trade can be compared with the 1987 deal. But upon first look both teams have seemed to address needs and thought this through.

2 Responses to “Historical precedent for the C.C. Sabathia deal”

  1. Interesting trade comparison.

    If you go to Alexander’s Baseball Reference page, it’s sponsored by someone who says “Who needs John Smoltz?”

    mmm.. just saw that Harden is going to the Cubs too

  2. This trade reminded me of when the Indians traded righthander Rick Sutcliffe for young slugger Joe Carter. It was a trade that helped both ballclubs.

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