,PHILADELPHIA -- Having watched CC Sabathia's early days with the Cleveland Indians, Charlie Manuel knows exactly what's coming to the National League.
"He's a No.1, definitely," the Phillies manager said of the Milwaukee Brewers new addition.
Early Monday, Milwaukee's trade for Sabathia became official. The Brewers traded four prospects to Cleveland for a 6-foot-7, 250-pound ace.
"They picked up a pretty good hitter, too," Manuel said of the Brewers. "He hit 22 home runs in 30 games in high school his senior year. But no, he's a tremendous pitcher...
"He can throw hard, but he can definitely pitch. He has a good feel for pitches, he's got a good changeup and slider. He knows what he's doing."
The reigning American League Cy Young Award winner, Sabathia went 19-7 with a 3.21 ERA a year ago to help lead the Indians to the American League Central title. Manuel, who managed in Cleveland for three seasons from 2000 to 2003, understands what a pitcher of Sabathia's caliber can bring to a pennant race.
"I think the same thing you guys might say," Manuel said. "It's like, 'Look they just picked up a 20-game winner.'
"How many times you find a 20-game winner in this game? He has that kind of ability."
Before Monday's game against the Mets, Manuel was asked what he felt was a bigger priority for his own team: trading for a pitcher, or getting his slumping offense back into shape.
While he admitted his team's starting pitching "has been pretty good," the Phils manager didn't undervalue the importance of a difference-making pitcher.
"You can always use pitching, someone can always use a guy like Sabathia," Manuel said. "And I think when you go out on the market, that's the kind of guy that's going to put you over the hump, that's going to make you better than other people...
"I think what's going to put us up into the position we want to be in is to get a top-notch player."