Most of us have taken for granted that CC Sabathia isn't long for Milwaukee, and given how the Brewers rode him like a rented car in the stretch run, it seemed like the coaching staff wasn't planning on having him back, either. But before he packs his bags and heads for some rich team on the coast (he should have his pick -- the Yankees, Angels and Dodgers have all been mentioned in rumors), it turns out the Brewers might make a pitch for him to stay after all. From ESPN's Buster Olney:
Others in the Brewers' organization say Milwaukee owner Mark Attanasio will try to make it very difficult for Sabathia to leave -- maybe to the point of risking a colossal mistake. Attanasio has seen how Sabathia has made an enormous difference for Milwaukee in attendance -- which climbed dramatically for every game the left-hander started -- and in the standings; the Brewers were 14-3 in the 17 regular-season starts that Sabathia made for the team. And he was a model of competitive integrity; if you wanted to invest big dollars in any player, you'd feel great about signing Sabathia, who demonstrated repeatedly that he will put his team above his own personal interests. You couldn't blame Attanasio if he were to get aggressive with his offer to the lefty.
It's a risky move -- CC has thrown a lot of pitches over the last four years -- but if the Brewers are intent on getting an ace, I'd prefer to see them gamble on a free agent than pulling the trigger on the "Matt Cain for Prince Fielder and J.J. Hardy" proposal floated by Peter Gammons recently.
Sabathia has been a horse his entire career, making at least 30 starts a year every season but one (when he made 28 in 2006), so it's not out of the question that he mainstains his current level of production. On the other hand, he could just as easily follow the up-and-down career-arc of Bartolo Colon, another pudgy workhorse who got his start with the Indians, though I think staying in the more pitcher-friendly National League helps mitigate that risk.