Sources: Indians agree to deal Sabathia to Brewers for minor leaguers

Updated: July 7, 2008, 11:55 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

It looks like the next time C.C. Sabathia takes the mound he'll be donning a Milwaukee Brewers jersey.

The Brewers, who are seeking their first playoff appearance since 1982, and the last-place Cleveland Indians agreed in principle to a deal for the reigning AL Cy Young on Sunday, sources told ESPN The Magazine's Buster Olney. The deal is contingent on paperwork being finished.

The Brewers (noon ET) and Indians (12:30 p.m.) have both scheduled news conferences.

The trade was first reported by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

In a text message to ESPN.com's Amy K. Nelson, Sabathia all but confirmed the deal.

"I'm good, excited," Sabathia wrote. "It's weird leaving these guys."

Since Sabathia's last start was Wednesday, it's possible he could pitch for Milwaukee as early as Tuesday. The Brewers, who open a four-game home series against Colorado on Monday night, are 3½ games behind the Cubs in the NL Central and tied with St. Louis atop the wild-card standings.

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Cleveland would get highly touted outfield prospect Matt LaPorta, who is hitting .288 with 20 homers and 66 RBIs in 84 games for Double-A Huntsville, and others. The other players do not include top prospects Alcides Escobar or Mat Gamel, according to the Journal Sentinel.

A source told ESPN Insider Keith Law the deal does include pitcher Rob Bryson, who is 3-2 with 4.25 ERA this season with low-A affiliate West Virginia. Pitcher Zach Jackson, from Triple-A affiliate Nashville, and a fourth player to be named later round out the package, according to the Journal Sentinel.

The Brewers wanted Sabathia, who rejected a $72 million, four-year extension from the Indians during spring training, on their pitching staff in time to get him two starts before the All-Star break, according to multiple media reports.

Brewers general manager Doug Melvin told the Journal Sentinel on Saturday that a proposal was on table and he awaiting word from Indians GM Mark Shapiro.

"Mark said he'd be in touch with me," said Melvin. "I'm sure they've got to think through everything."

Laporta was scratched from Huntsville's lineup Sunday, another indication the deal was close.

Saving Ace?

Is CC Sabathia enough to help the Brewers win the NL Central? Here's how Sabathia has fared against the rest of the division*:

W-L ERA
Cardinals 1-0 4.63
Cubs 0-1 34.71
Pirates 2-0 1.64
Reds 3-0 2.26
*Has never faced the Astros
Sabathia went 19-7 with a 3.21 ERA to win the AL Cy Young last season and would give the Brewers another power pitcher to pair with Ben Sheets as Milwaukee, which is second in National League standings behind the Chicago Cubs, tries to make the playoffs for the first time since 1982.

The big lefty is 6-8 with a 3.83 ERA for the Indians, but has also been plagued with a lack of run support. In 11 of his 18 starts, Cleveland has scored two runs or less for him.

The Brewers starting pitching has been thin ever since Yovani Gallardo went on the disabled list on May 2 with a torn knee ligament that required surgery. His rehab was supposed to take four months, which gives him an outside chance of returning before the end of the season.

Sheets (10-2, 2.77 ERA) is off to the best start of his career, but the All-Star righty is in the final year of a $38.5 million, four-year contract and hasn't wanted to talk about his upcoming free agency.

The Brewers were considered the front-runner in the Sabathia sweepstakes. The Los Angeles Dodgers, Philadelphia Phillies and Tampa Bay Rays were among other teams vying for his services.

Information from The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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