The C.C. Sabathia trade rumors are over. He has been dealt the the Milwaukee Brewers for a three-prospect package headed by slugging 1B/OF/DH Matt LaPorta (288/402/576). Accompanying him to Cleveland are pitchers Zach Jackson (AAA) and Robby Bryson (Low A) along with a PTBNL reportedly High A 3B Taylor Green (295/380/444) or Double-A CF Michael Brantley (324/405/412). C Jonathan Lucroy (318/398/537), who has split time between Low A and High A, was also floated on the internets yesterday as a possible piece.
For the Brewers, this trade signals the team is in it to win it this season. Dealing four prospects of the calibre they did says it loudly. It also means the bat of 3B Mat Gamel immediately makes him the top hitting prospect in the organization and says the team believes he can stay at 3B. Unless he too is dealt this season.
For the Indians, the acquistion of a DH-type like LaPorta spells doom for OF Shin-Soo Choo in the immediate future and maybe 1B Ryan Garko in the almost-as-immediate future. It should mean the end of Travis Hafner, but the Indians unwisely gave him a four-year/$51.75MM contract that did not begin until 2009.
Notable as a commonality amongst the hitting prospects is their OBP. None could be said to be lacking in plate discipline. As long as their bats and gloves continue to play, projecting their major league debuts is a simple task. Laporta should be ready to appear in 2009 as would Brantley and the other two in 2010.
The fantasy implications are clear enough. Matt LaPorta immediately becomes one of the top fantasy prospects entering the 2009 season. He joins Baltimore Orioles' C Matt Wieters and Tampa Bay Rays LHP David Price as the most anticipated rookies.
For most of us who are unfamiliar with Green and Lucroy, Here is Baseball Amercia's write-up for Green that I blurbed a couple days ago. Here is the same for Lucroy.
"Jonathan Lucroy, C, #16 prospect: ...The Brewers didn't have a second-round pick in 2007, so they had to wait 94 choices after taking Matt Laporta seventh overall. They thought Lucroy would surely be gone by then, and they were delighted to land him with the no. 101 pick and $340,000. An offensive-minded catcher...knows the strike zone well. Though he isn't known for his defensive prowess, he did throw out 43% of basestealers in the Pioneer League...his best attribute as a catcher may be the leadership he exudes...He could move quickly and see High A at some point in 2008."
Keith Law of Scouts, Inc. offers this assesment of Robby Bryson:
"...the potential to be this deal's Neftali Feliz -- a young, projectable pitcher who, a year later, looks like the key to the trade. Bryson's arm isn't quite as live as Feliz's (few are), but he has a potentially plus fastball/slider combo and misses a ton of bats already with both pitches. He's a great athlete and physically could start, but his command is still below-average, and his control is significantly better in relief. "