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News » Brewers set to throw $100 million at CC 2008-10-29


Brewers set to throw $100 million at CC 2008-10-29


Brewers set to throw $100 million at CC 2008-10-29
The expectation in some baseball circles is that the Brewers will offer left-hander CC Sabathia $100 million for four years.

Such a proposal certainly would get Sabathia's attention as he prepares for free agency, but he surely would command a more lucrative deal on the open market.

The Yankees, Angels and Dodgers are among Sabathia's leading possibilities, and each could give him more than four years and $25 million per season.

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Sabathia's preference is to play on the west coast, sources say. He might also prefer to remain in the National League, making him an obvious fit for the Dodgers.

However, the Dodgers' intentions are an open question.

The team is facing the losses of several major free agents — left fielder Manny Ramirez, right-hander Derek Lowe, shortstop Rafael Furcal and third baseman Casey Blake.

The Brewers, meanwhile, would demonstrate to their fans that they indeed were serious about keeping Sabathia if they offered him $100 million for four years.

In fact, such a proposal would be stunning from a team in a mid-sized market, a team that opened last season with an $81 million payroll.

The Brewers, facing a number of pressing issues, likely will want an answer on Sabathia quickly, giving them a chance to explore other options, if necessary.

The team needs to hire a manager — former A's manager Ken Macha is the front-runner, sources say — and also must decide whether to exercise center fielder Mike Cameron's $10 million option within five days after the World Series.

The Teixeira market

For all the talk about Ramirez, agent Scott Boras likely will find it much easier to create a market for first baseman Mark Teixeira, who is expected to be a primary target of three high-revenue teams — the Yankees, Red Sox and Angels.

While the Red Sox currently do not have an opening for Teixeira, they could sign him due to their concerns over third baseman Mike Lowell and designated hitter David Ortiz, then make the pieces fit later.

Lowell, recovering from surgery on his right hip, is expected to be out until at least mid-March. It's unlikely a team would take a chance on him before seeing him play. Then again, Casey Blake and Joe Crede are the only prominent free-agent third basemen, and some club might bite on Lowell if it were satisfied with his medical progress.

Lowell, who is owed $24 million over the next two seasons, does not have a no-trade clause.

Peavy to Braves: On hold

The Braves and Padres remain at an impasse in their trade discussions concerning right-hander Jake Peavy, sources say.

The Padres are believed to be asking for five players, knowing the Braves parted with that many when they acquired first baseman Mark Teixeira and left-hander Ron Mahay from the Rangers.

Of course, the players and combinations remain fluid, and the final package could hinge on whether the Braves take back shortstop Khalil Greene as a replacement for Yunel Escobar, who likely would be included in the deal.

For the moment, the Braves remain opposed to trading Class AA right-hander Tommy Hanson, who has pitched 8 2/3 scoreless innings in the Arizona Fall League and could be in the Atlanta rotation next season.

The Padres' discussions with other clubs about Peavy also are quiet, but the talks are certain to resume next week at the general managers' meetings in Dana Point, Ca.

Peterson: Right fit in Texas?

One rival executive says that the Rangers' hiring of Rick Peterson as pitching coach would be "the biggest surprise of the winter," saying that Peterson and club president Nolan Ryan are "North Pole and South Pole" in their approaches.

Not necessarily.

Peterson's emphasis on conditioning and throwing strikes seemingly would fit with what Ryan wants to accomplish, and the former A's and Mets pitching coach remains a leading candidate for the Rangers.

Former Astros and Red Sox pitching coach Dave Wallace no longer is a candidate with the Rangers. The Brewers' Mike Maddux would interest the Rangers, sources say, but Brewers G.M. Doug Melvin has said that he wants to retain Maddux under the team's new manager.

Who's knocking on Wood?

The Cubs still figure to re-sign both right-handers Ryan Dempster and Kerry Wood, but keeping Wood could become problematic if teams offer him three or more years in free agency.

The demand for closers figures to be intense, and all it takes is one club to set the market. Still, Wood's injury history likely will deter most teams from making long-term offers.

The Mets, for example, like Wood, but could not afford another risk while they pay Billy Wagner $10.5 million to spend most or all of next 2009 on the disabled list.

Another possibility for the Mets is to identify next year's Brad Lidge — a late-inning reliever who would benefit from a change in clubs. None of the current closers appears to fit that description, but someone like the Cleveland's Rafael Betancourt could be a possibility.

The Indians, another team looking to add a closer, might back out of the market altogether, sticking with Jensen Lewis in the ninth inning while trying to acquire other relievers for the seventh and eighth.

Around the Horn

Boras, according to a rival executive, is trying to sell catcher Jason Varitek to the Tigers as a replacement for another of his clients, Ivan Rodriguez. The idea is not without merit; the Tigers' lineup is strong enough to carry Varitek's declining offense, and his defense and leadership would greatly benefit their pitching staff.

One more reason to believe that Ramirez could be headed back to the American League: One executive says that Ramirez, according to his team's advanced defensive measures, "clearly undermines his offense with his defense at this point — clearly." Ramirez, who turns 36 on May 30, would make more sense as a designated hitter, the exec says.

The Marlins continue to shop first baseman Mike Jacobs, knowing they could replace him with Jorge Cantu or Gaby Sanchez, who had a .917 OPS last season at Class AA. Either would be a defensive upgrade over Jacobs and maybe not much worse offensively. Jacobs hit 32 homers last season, but had only a .299 on-base percentage.


Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: October 29, 2008

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