"We're prepared to do something with him here very shortly," general manager Doug Melvin said before Sabathia filed for free agency on Saturday.
Sabathia had until Nov. 13 to put himself on the market. The Brewers are
hopeful that he'll remain with the small-market franchise, which
advanced to the playoffs for the first time since 1982.
"He's not going to be a guy who is going to have 27 phone
calls. He's only going to get five," Melvin said. "If he's going
to demand the money he's going to demand, he'll get a lot less
phone calls than maybe even Ray Durham or somebody like that that
Milwaukee acquired Sabathia from Cleveland for four top
prospects on July 7, and he went 11-2 with a 1.65 ERA in 17 starts,
including seven complete games. That run could get him a contract
topping the record for a pitcher, Johan Santana's $137.5 million,
six-year agreement with the New York Mets.
While young stars Prince Fielder, Ryan Braun, J.J. Hardy, Rickie
Weeks and Yovani Gallardo will return, up to 12 players are
eligible for free agency, including Ben Sheets. Milwaukee holds
options on center fielder Mike Cameron ($10 million) and closer
Salomon Torres ($3.75 million).
Milwaukee on Friday declined a $3.4 million option on infielder
Craig Counsell, who gets a $400,000 buyout. Melvin will continue to
negotiate with Counsell, who grew up in suburban Milwaukee. The
13-year veteran hit .226 with one homer and 14 RBIs in 110 games.
Besides Sabathia, Cameron and Sheets figure to draw the most
interest as free agents.
"Our roster will change dramatically," Melvin said. "We'll
make an offer to CC, we'll see how that goes, but the other part of
it is we're going to have to turn the roster over like Oakland
Information from The Associated Press contributed to this report.