Simply put, Sabathia is going to drag this out as long as he can...and, in doing so, Melvin won't be able to pursue any other free agent starting pitchers. Since only the Yankees, Giants and Angels are the Brewers' only competition, the GM's of the other 26 teams are off and running locking up starters...or getting ready to.
Case in point--the Braves have already added Javier Vazquez to their rotation via trade...and are on the verge of signing the Jays' A.J. Burnett to a free agent contract. That is two fewer available options for the Brewers now...and going from the AL to a potential wild card foe.
As for trading for another starter, MLB.com's Adam McCalvy seems to think that Melvin won't likely make any big deals at the Winter Meetings. I concur. McCalvy goes onto say that the Brewers would really like to add another left-handed bat...but, of course, where? The best possibility would be to replace Bill Hall at third...but then the Brewers would have to eat his contract, since no GM in his right mind would take Hall and his contract right now. It also means that Tony Gwynn, Jr. is not seriously being considered for 2009.
The Brewers lost Russell Branyan to the Mariners...but did add Jorge Julio to the bullpen assortment.
Former Brewer Don Money got promoted to the AAA Nashville Sounds manager job, after having managed the AA Huntsville Stars in '08--one obvious benefit is that Mat Gamel, Alcides Escobar, and Angel Salome will all benefit from having their '08 manager still managing them in 2009.
Ben Sheets is likely to decline arbitration...well, duh! Actually, he's gambling that he'll get more than a one year deal...which he should. The strange offer was to Brian Shouse--Melvin would obviously be okay with having the aging Shouse back for one year...but, understandably, does not want to commit to two years.
So Brewers' fans are still waiting for something to happen..