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MLB.com's Anthony Castrovince unloads on CC Sabathia

Jul 13, 2010, 2:14 PM EDT

Anthony Castrovince is one of MLB.com’s best. He’s a good reporter and, unlike some of the other people over there, he doesn’t give off the impression that he’s overly cozy with the team he covers, the Cleveland Indians. He’s a straight shooter, as likely to see things from the player’s perspective as he is the team’s perspective when those two perspectives are at odds. And even if he’s arguing one side of things, he’s always been fair in my experience.

As a result, if Castrovince is going after someone — I mean really going after someone — you can bet that something really, really got under his skin. In this case it’s CC Sabathia, who said yesterday, in response to a question about the Indians losing him, Cliff Lee and Victor Martinez in the space of a year or so, that “that wasn’t our fault. They traded us. That’s on them.”

Read Castovince’s laser-guided missile assault at CC Sabathia in full for all of its glory. In the meantime, here’s a taste:

Essentially, Sabathia got lucky. Because 50 years from now, Indians
fans won’t remember him as the guy who walked away from the Tribe for
the big payday elsewhere. He won’t go down with the likes of Albert
Belle, Manny Ramirez and Jim Thome. Rather, he’ll be remembered as the
Cy Young winner the Indians stupidly dealt in his prime.

Nevermind, of course, that the Indians were forced to deal Sabathia
because he was going to walk away three months later and because he and
his teammates crumbled upon the weight of expectations in 2008.
Nevermind that the primary reason that ’07 team — a “good team” in its
own right, having won 96 games in the regular season — didn’t ascend to
the World Series like it should have was because Sabathia was
outpitched in Games 1 and 5.

If Sabathia were being honest with himself and honest with the fans, he
would have said, “This is a business, and it’s difficult for a team in a
smaller market like Cleveland to afford to keep its core intact. That’s
why it’s a shame we weren’t able to take advantage of the special
opportunity we had in ’07. And as the ace of that pitching staff, I take
the brunt of the blame.”

You may disagree with parts of it, but I think Castrovince got it mostly right. The key here is that Castrovince does not — like so many other scribes who criticize big money players — expect some sort of loyalty from Sabathia. He didn’t expect CC to say with the Indians because such a thing made no economic or logical sense for anyone. All he expects is honesty from guys in Sabathia’s position. For them to say “hey, baseball economics are what they are, and that leads to things like Lee, Martinez and I getting traded,” rather than to disingenuously blame the team.

I don’t think that’s too much to ask, and I think that Castrovince nailed it.

  1. Brian Sipe - Jul 13, 2010 at 2:24 PM

    I totally agree. F that fat tub of human fecal matter.

  2. Boo Hoo Florio picked on your team - GET OVER IT - Jul 13, 2010 at 2:26 PM

    Sounds far more like sour grapes to me. He’s thinking of the short term situation and CC was thinking about the big picture.

  3. Chris Fiorentino - Jul 13, 2010 at 2:30 PM

    “didn’t ascend to the World Series like it should have was because Sabathia was outpitched in Games 1 and 5.”
    To be fair, and it pains me to say this about C.C., he was going against, up to that point, one of the best money playoff pitchers in both game 1 and 5…Josh Beckett. I know he should have pitched better, but Beckett didn’t win MVP of that series for nothing, and the Red Sox didn’t win the World Series that year for nothing either. The Red Sox WERE the favorites in that series, and just because they went down 3-1 doesn’t mean they weren’t the favorites to win. I think Castrovince was a little harsh on CC.

  4. Ditto65 - Jul 13, 2010 at 2:39 PM

    Who owns the Indians?
    Are they small market or small minded?
    Field a quality team and fans will flock to the ballpark, revenue will increase, free agents will sign.
    Pinch pennies and that is all you’ll be left with.
    Stay Classy, HBT.

  5. Jonny5 - Jul 13, 2010 at 2:41 PM

    Well in all fairness, if they had made it to the WS, he still would be on a small market team, and still would have been traded. And to be honest, he would have had more interest and value on his head as well. It’s all about the benjamins people. The entire MLB is ran like a buisness, every team is ran like a buisiness. I don’t expect the players to just stick with their team and collect the pay offered to them, do you? Had he agreed to a smaller pay, one the Indians could cover, he still would have been traded, the indians would have just got more from him when they told him to pack his bags. But that would have been a “smart move” for the team, I’m sure….

  6. Simon DelMonte - Jul 13, 2010 at 2:43 PM

    Hard not to wonder if Mr. Castrovince isn’t feeling this way because of that other guy who a local team couldn’t afford to keep, and who didn’t say the right things in the least when he left. And hard to blame him for projecting LBJ on CC.
    It’s been a bad week for Cleveland. LeBron, then a day of news about Cliff Lee, then Harvey Pekar’s death, and then the passing of a native son who also chose to seek glory in a bigger city. Just imagine if George had bought the Indians.

  7. lar @ wezen-ball - Jul 13, 2010 at 2:44 PM

    I’m not sure Castrovince can be any clearer on what he’s complaining about – CC pretending like it was the Indians’ fault that they didn’t sign him when he knew that he would never agree to a price they could afford – but the point seems to be eluding the commenters over there (and here too).
    He (Castrovince) actually does a really good job of spelling it all out. Much better than I expected to see. It’s a good read. And this is coming from someone who likes CC a lot (though I liked him much better when he was here in Milwaukee, and not in the “slimming” pinstripes)

  8. JBerardi - Jul 13, 2010 at 2:49 PM

    “Nevermind, of course, that the Indians were forced to deal Sabathia because he was going to walk away three months later and because he and his teammates crumbled upon the weight of expectations in 2008. Nevermind that the primary reason that ’07 team — a “good team” in its own right, having won 96 games in the regular season — didn’t ascend to the World Series like it should have was because Sabathia was outpitched in Games 1 and 5.”

    Should have? The Red Sox were clearly the best team in baseball in ’07. They went nearly wire-to-wire in the toughest division in baseball, and they crushed everyone besides Cleveland in the playoffs. Does anyone remember how insanely nasty Beckett was in that series? No one was going to out-pitch him. Then, with the same core players returning for ’08, Cleveland did NOTHING in the offseason. No attempt to improve their team whatsoever. So really, who are you gonna blame? Your best pitcher, or the management that failed to put a team that could win around him? Any of this sound familiar, Cleveland?

  9. Md23Rewls - Jul 13, 2010 at 3:01 PM

    It’s not like it’s impossible for small market teams to re-sign players. Joe Mauer just got a giant contract from Minnesota. If the Indians had really wanted Sabathia, like really really wanted him, they would have kept him. It was a lukewarm want, he got traded, and he ended up in New York. You can’t expect Sabathia to like hearing blame thrown his way. Of course he’s going to act a little defensively about it. It is what it is.

  10. Chris Fiorentino - Jul 13, 2010 at 3:09 PM

    Yeah, this is exactly what I said above…this guy is talking like the Indians were favorites or something. The Red Sox were dominant that year, Beckett won the MVP of the series that year, and he pitched against CC twice. I don’t know what this guy expected, but I’m rather shocked that Craig is all over his jock strap when the following line was written…”didn’t ascend to the World Series like it should have” Huh?

  11. Jonny5 - Jul 13, 2010 at 3:14 PM

    Larry, what if he had? I’d bet at least half a paycheck he’d have been traded anyway.

  12. JCD - Jul 13, 2010 at 3:16 PM

    Cleveland was going to pay Lebron more to play there than anyone, so that’s a myth that the Cavs couldn’t afford him anymore.

  13. lar @ wezen-ball - Jul 13, 2010 at 3:56 PM

    I don’t know. It’s possible, but, if they had a pretty good idea that he would be willing to accept something they could afford (and that type of thing would have come through in negotiations, I bet), then I doubt they would’ve settled for Mat LaPorta and a couple of lesser prospects.
    Plus, didn’t they basically offer him the most they could possibly afford? If he was willing to accept something similar to the $18 mil contract, it likely would’ve happened well before the trading deadline. Meaning the Indians would’ve been the ones who were balking for 3 months before trading him… and I just don’t think that would’ve happened. If CC was willing to take soimething the Indians could afford, I feel pretty confident that the deal would’ve gotten done…

  14. Jonny5 - Jul 13, 2010 at 4:34 PM

    Just seeing that they could afford to keep Lee, which they didn’t, tells me Sabathia would have been trade fodder at any agreed salary, especially if it were a more reasonable salary. But who knows.

  15. Md23Rewls - Jul 13, 2010 at 5:29 PM

    One other thought–the reason these guys were traded is because the Indians were a bad team in 2008 and 2009. While you can throw crap at Sabathia and co. for not coming through in the 2007 postseason, if the Indians were in contention in 2008, then I don’t think Sabathia would have been traded. Ditto Lee and Martinez last year. Cleveland wanted to get pieces for them and took the initiative when they saw the team was floundering. That’s their right, but you can’t turn around and say that Sabathia’s at fault for getting traded.

  16. JBerardi - Jul 13, 2010 at 5:52 PM

    I’ll say it again, Cleveland screwed themselves by not doing a thing to improve their team after the ’07. They simply brought back the same guys in ’08, and when they (predictably) regressed, trading their stars was the logical move.

  17. ryanbyrne19 - Jul 13, 2010 at 8:49 PM

    What if Steinbrenner bought the Indians in ’71 instead of the Yankees in ’73?

  18. YANKEES1996 - Jul 14, 2010 at 5:05 PM

    Sounds like sour grapes to me as well, o.k. CC would probably tell you he should have pitched better in those games but Beckett was on a tear. The Indians traded him, Lee and Martinez to avoid the big contract issues and that has caused their team to spiral downward, look at them now. I agree with Ditto65 there has to be a commitment to win and without it teams will not hold on to their core players and better talent will not be inclined to sign. Most players want a chance to be a champion and if the team their playing for is not willing to commit to that goal then good players will move on or will be traded for prospects to avoid big contract demands.

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