Shortly after the Milwaukee Brewers finalized a trade for reigning American League Cy Young Award winner CC Sabathia on Monday, the Daily News learned that sometime in the days leading up to that deal, Dodgers owner Frank McCourt nixed a trade that would have brought Sabathia to Los Angeles, along with Indians third baseman Casey Blake and utility man Jamey Carroll.
McCourt's reason was financial, according to multiple industry sources. But that is a charge McCourt flatly denied.
"It's just totally false," he said. "The players didn't match up, and that's just the way it was."
All three players are potential free agents in the fall, although Carroll's contract includes a club option for next season. The 2008 base salaries of Sabathia ($9 million), Blake ($6.1 million) and Carroll ($2.15 million) total $17.25 million, a figure that drops to somewhere between $8 million and $9 million with more than half the season already gone.
Carroll also has a $150,000 buyout on his $2.5 million option for 2009.
It is unclear which players the Dodgers would have given up to acquire the trio. But with the defending AL Central champion Indians presently in last place and holding out little hope of getting back into contention, it is a reasonable assumption that package would have consisted of young players not making much more than the major-league minimum of $390,000.
"Trades are complicated, and (the Indians) weren't just going to give us three
players," McCourt said. "They were asking for something in return. The point being that in this deal, the give and the get just didn't match up."
Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti declined to confirm any part of the report.
"Trades are complex," Colletti said. "There is no one ingredient that goes into making a trade, and really, there is no one ingredient that goes into not making a trade. As far as the McCourts are concerned, I don't think anybody in this organization doubts that they are in it to win. For proof of that, all you have to do is look at the investment they have made in the stadium and in the baseball team."
McCourt also denied that the decision to kill the trade was his alone.
"Ned and I were on the same page," he said.
So first there's the thought that maybe Colletti might have screwed up the Dodgers chances at getting CC or that he would have given up too much.
And there have also been rumors that the Dodgers are interested in Jack Wilson, and would even give up Matt Kemp for him. Obviously a deal like that seems ludicrous. But it also looks like Colletti might finally be ready to break up some of the Dodgers valuable prospects. I for one, hope that McCourt doesn't catch on for a long time!
Under a more competent GM they probably would have run away with the division a long time ago, and no to mention spent so much money on has been veterans and impeded the development of their talented youngsters. Viva Colletti!