Pitching his first game in a New York Yankees uniform Monday, CC Sabathia gave up six runs, eight hits and five walks, and struck out zero batters over four and a third innings in what ended up being a 10-5 loss to Baltimore. At least three beat writers covering the game for New York newspapers mentioned Sabathia's seven-year, $161 million contract in their lead paragraphs.
That incredible sum is the main reason Sabathia isn't playing for Milwaukee this season, and also why many Brewers fans enjoyed their Tuesday morning breakfast with a side of schadenfreude. While it should have been clear to all that Sabathia was not long for Milwaukee, fans became understandably attached after the hefty lefty, joining the team in midseason, started 17 games, winning 11 of them and going the distance seven times.
Milwaukee's other ace from 2008, Ben Sheets, is no longer with the team and will sit out most of the season with an elbow injury. The absence of Sheets and Sabathia from the roster makes it unlikely the Brewers will improve on last season's 90-72 regular season record.
But the Brewers have eight everyday players returning - including Ryan Braun (.285, 37 homeruns, 106 RBI), Prince Fielder (.276, 34, 102) and J.J. Hardy (.283, 24, 74). And they still play in baseball's weakest division, the National League Central, which St. Louis won in 2006 with just 83 wins on the way to becoming World Series champs.