It's a 'bittersweet' postseason for Indians brass (cont.)
Baseball, too, apparently viewed Sabathia as the much more valuable property, as the Indians received two very top prospects, slugger Matt LaPorta and outfielder Michael Brantley, from the Brewers for only a half year of Sabathia. Whereas, the Lee market was tighter even though the option ties him to his current team through the end of '10.
It's too early to pass real judgment on any of the Indians' trades as they received very young players. In all, the Indians acquired 11 prospects this summer, all under 25 and nine of them pitchers. Shapiro said the Knapp injury is a blow but that "you can't ever evaluate trades (for prospects) in the short term."
In the very short term, Shapiro is watching the playoffs with extreme interest. Although, Shapiro said he predominantly thinks of the personal side of the trades, which makes him happy for Lee and Sabathia. Shapiro was closer to Sabathia, who was drafted as an Indian (Lee came in that lopsided trade for Bartolo Colon that also netted Cleveland Grady Sizemore and Brandon Phillips), and Shapiro said, "When I see CC Sabathia, I only feel positive thoughts about the human being he is, and whatever small role I might have played in his life."
But Shapiro added about the Indians-influenced postseason, "Of course, it is bittersweet."
McCourt-room battle ahead
Dodgers owner Frank McCourt's decision to fire his soon-to-be-ex-wife Jamie as CEO looks like only the start of what could be a lengthy court battle. Jamie McCourt's lawyer, Dennis Wasser, made it clear it's her intention to fight, saying, "As co-owner of the Dodgers, she will address this and all other issues in the courtroom."
Both McCourts have expressed interest in keeping the team separately, and people familiar with the McCourts don't rule out the possibility that Jamie might win the battle, as she apparently has made connections with some wealthy Los Angelenos. The McCourts aren't believed to be among baseball's richest owners, and with the value of the team skyrocketing toward $1 billion, it may come down to which McCourt can come up with the cash.
This is "not going to be pretty," said one person familiar with current Dodger dealings involving the divorcing duo. The firing is quite a start to the proceedings. As one baseball observer said, "They have been together 30 years and have four kids. How do you fire the kids' mother?"
Sources indicate this deed was done the very day the Dodgers were eliminated by the Phillies, but it isn't known whether the timing was coincidental. Jamie has filed for divorce.
They are obviously operating, as somehow one or both was able to reach an agreement on a long-term extension with GM Ned Colletti, who could have become a free agent if he went unsigned. How the divorce will affect future dealings is unknown.
The Indians' final four appears to be Bobby Valentine, Don Mattingly, Manny Acta and Torey Lovullo, which is as varied a group as you could have. But Shapiro said this is just the way it worked out after starting with "about 50." Acta's also in the mix in Houston, which also must be overlooking his 28-61 mark with the Nats this year. Valentine would seem to be a good fit for the Indians, whose front office has an intellectual bent.
The interest in Mattingly on the part of Washington as well as Cleveland might solidify Mattingly's status with the Dodgers. The current plan appears to be for him to take over for iconic manager Joe Torre after the 2010 season. It would seem to be a long shot to think he'd give up the Dodgers -- a storied franchise where his middle son is a minor league player -- to jump to a rebuilding situation in Cleveland or Washington.
The Nats are also looking at Valentine, whose good friend and mentor Tommy Lasorda is promoting that union. Lasorda put in a good word for Valentine with Nats owners.
Rangers president Nolan Ryan is getting credit in Texas media circles for improved pitching. But here are the Rangers team ERAs by month in the second half: July, 3.59; August, 4.56; September, 5.07. Ryan is a proponent of de-emphasizing pitch counts. But he should probably realize that not everyone is Nolan Ryan as a pitcher, and this is a different era.
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