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CC Sabathia side steps questions about contract opt out

Oct 7, 2011, 11:19 AM EDT

CC Sabathia Reuters

Within minutes of the Yankees’ season ending CC Sabathia was asked whether he planned to exercise the opt-out clause in his contract to become a free agent, but the left-hander told reporters that he wasn’t ready to think about it yet.

“I can’t even wrap my head around that right now,” Sabathia said. “I’m just thinking about what I didn’t do to help us win. Maybe in the next couple days, next couple of weeks, I’ll think about that and see what happens.”

That certainly doesn’t qualify as a “no, I’m definitely not opting out” answer.

Sabathia has repeatedly said he loves playing for the Yankees and in New York, but from a strictly business standpoint he’d seemingly have little trouble securing a deal on the open market that beats the four years and $92 million remaining on his current contract. And he could always opt out and then re-sign with the Yankees anyway, for more money and a longer commitment.

Last offseason Cliff Lee got a five-year, $120 million deal from the Phillies that could be worth up to $147.5 million for six years and two offseasons ago the Yankees felt Sabathia was worth a seven-year, $161 million commitment. If he’s interested in maximizing his earning potential opting out is pretty obviously the way to go following a season in which he went 19-8 with a 3.00 ERA and 230 strikeouts in 237 innings at age 30.

  1. Jason @ IIATMS - Oct 7, 2011 at 11:24 AM

    There’s no reason for him NOT to opt out.

    Am I concerned about years 5-7 in the next deal? Yooooou betchya.

    • Chris Fiorentino - Oct 7, 2011 at 11:32 AM

      I agree with this. If he does not opt out, it would be an absolutely horrible business decision. Why not make the Yankees tack a couple more years on if he wants to stay there?

      A bigger question is how did the Yankees allow this opt out into the original contract to begin with? Was this a deal breaker? Was it talked about a lot when he signed the contract…I just don’t remember.

      • Jason @ IIATMS - Oct 7, 2011 at 11:37 AM

        How’d it get into the contract? Because the team was desperate for CC. That’s probably why.

        The opt-outs are horrible. If there’s an opt-out, there CANNOT also be a no-trade clause. That’s just handcuffing yourself to a tree with a beehive over your head.

        Have I mentioned that I loathe NTC’s?

      • southpaw2k - Oct 7, 2011 at 11:41 AM

        Don’t take this as gospel, but my understanding was that he didn’t really want to come to New York in the first place. He’s a California native and wanted to pitch either for the Angels or Giants, but neither of them made a bonafide contract offer. Since the Yankees were the only team who actually had offered him a contract (and offered him an insane amount of money) he would’ve been crazy to say no. So he signed the deal but made sure there was an opt-out clause in three years so he could leave New York if he had wanted to.

        At least, I think that was the reasoning.

      • Chris Fiorentino - Oct 7, 2011 at 11:41 AM

        How did they end up outbidding the Angels and whoever else AND putting this opt-out in? Seems a bit odd. Does Texiera have an opt-out(not that he would use it)? Does A-Rod have another opt-out(he definitely won’t do it again) LOL

      • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Oct 7, 2011 at 11:43 AM

        Sabathia grew up in Cali, and the Cali teams were pushing hard for him. He demanded the opt out because he didn’t know if his family would like NY and didn’t want to by stuck there for most of a decade if it didn’t work out. The Yankees needed him more than he needed the Yankees so they had to make some concessions. I can’t complain about the returns on that contract.

        I said somewhere else though that I would like to see some conditioning clause in his contract if they increase the years. That stuff becomes much more important once these guys hit the big 3-0.

      • gfly2002 - Oct 7, 2011 at 12:23 PM

        It’s just another bargaining point to find common ground on money per year. Burnett and Vernon Wells both got them in Toronto, Burnett opted out. Protects players against rapid salary escalation

      • Chris Fiorentino - Oct 7, 2011 at 12:41 PM

        Just checked the Phillies big contracts and there are no opt-outs for Halladay, Howard or Lee. I guess when you want to go somewhere, you don’t worry about opt-out clauses. 😀

      • lukeslice - Oct 7, 2011 at 1:23 PM

        it was no secret he wasn’t sure if he and his family – west coasters 4 life – would like life in new york, hence the opt-out. AND he knew he could (likely would) opt out regardless because now after earning his contract for 3 years he’ll have the yanks on the hook for more years/money. there’s no reason for him NOT to protect himself in this scenario, and he did, simple as that.

        either halladay/howard/lee just weren’t smart enough to add that clause into their own contracts OR the phils said take it or leave it cuz it was still a good contract for the players at hand (which it was, i.e. we all know howard’s overpaid).

    • marshmallowsnake - Oct 7, 2011 at 12:50 PM

      The real question is, will he opt out live during a clinching game of the world series?

      • Chris Fiorentino - Oct 7, 2011 at 12:51 PM

        LOL yeah forgot about that. I don’t think he is represented by that snake, Scott Bor-ass, so I don’t think he would do that.

  2. aceshigh11 - Oct 7, 2011 at 11:44 AM

    C.C. Sabathia to the Phillies!!

    Halladay/Sabathia/Lee/Hamels/Oswalt 2012!

    Ric Flair says WHOOOOOO…

    • delawarephilliesfan - Oct 7, 2011 at 12:17 PM

      Too funny Aces High – I was going to say the same thing, but w/out Oswalt.

      Take Oswalts pay off the books, swap out Ibanez a Major League minimum platoon of Brown and Mayberry….hey, we have some free salary now don’t we?

      Never going to happen of course…..just like a I posted on this very board that Cliff Lee coming back was never going to happen.

      But CC to Phillies? Nah….no way, ,impossible….right Ruben? Ruben? Who are you on the phone with Ruben?

      • aceshigh11 - Oct 7, 2011 at 12:28 PM

        I know it’ll never happen but I figured it would infuriate the Philly haters.

    • Chris Fiorentino - Oct 7, 2011 at 12:26 PM

      Yeah, you would have insert Worley for Oswalt.

      How about this scenario…

      Sign J-Roll
      Trade Domonic Brown, Cole Hamels and 2 other minor leaguers to the Blue Jays for Bautista
      Sign CC

      Doc/CC/Lee with a lineup of Rollins, Utley, Bautista, Howard, Pence, Victorino, Mayberry Jr, Ruiz

      I wonder if runs would still be hard to come by with that lineup? LOL.

      Wow. Would definiteyl be interesting

      • delawarephilliesfan - Oct 7, 2011 at 12:45 PM

        Scratch Bautista, the centerfield stands at CBP would make it impossible for him to pick up stolen signs

      • Chris Fiorentino - Oct 7, 2011 at 12:52 PM

        That’s cold, DPF…quite cold. I’m waiting for the Beaver Wrestlers to come in and see this and start yelling at me about how they are never going to trade Bautista 😀

  3. urfinished - Oct 7, 2011 at 12:03 PM

    That question mustve come in slowly if he side stepped it! Zing!
    Get it…because he’s chubby.
    Tip your waitress!

  4. APBA Guy - Oct 7, 2011 at 12:36 PM

    CC’s had an amazing 3 years for the Yankees, with ERA’s improving each year to last year’s 3.00. Total wins for the 3 years stand at 59 games. More importantly, he’s averaged 235 innings per year.

    Should he exercise his opt out, the Yankees face the classic dilemma. They can reasonably expect, even with his body type, that the first years of the contract will be fully productive. Certainly some additional conditioning would be expected as he is clearly carrying more weight around his midsection now. And that conditioning question is greater for a player aged 35 than for his current 31. So the Yankees, who foolishly bit on A-Rods opt-out to sign his extension, have to be careful with the notion of extensions for CC. A-Rod is still owed nearly $ 150M through 2017. After watching him this year at 36, what will he be like at 42? The Yankees have to be thinking that extending CC beyond 5 years is an incredible gamble, even with conditioning clauses.

  5. phukyouk - Oct 7, 2011 at 1:17 PM

    Here’s the deal. If CC wants more money give it to him.. its just $$$. If he wants another Yr or 2 + more $ give it to him no biggie.. If he wants 3 or more yrs tell him to Fu*k off. seriously! i love the guy and he helped us to a WS chip but hes 31 now and if we tack on 3 more yrs he will be 38 at the end of his contract making stupid money and most likely not producing all that much. as the old saying goes.. better a year to early than a year to late. we have the talent in the minors + CJ Wilson hitting the Market. the Yanks need to stop the 36 and older club bullshit NOW. between Jeter, Arod, and Tex this is going to be one muthafu*king old ass team in the next few years and we could really use so youth to balance that out.

    • bigharold - Oct 7, 2011 at 4:27 PM

      “.. better a year to early than a year to late.”

      True but if he insist on three/four years he’s going to get it most because while ” .. we have the talent in the minors..” the Yankees don’t have anything that can fill the void if Sabathia leaves. They tried the young three amigos in 08 and they ended up in 3rd. Counting on Colon or even Garcia to repeat this year production next year would be nuts. Can’t sell $1,200 seats being a third place team.

      Not only is the thirty something crowd not going away, .. wait until they sign Pulojs. If you think the Yankees over reacted signing Soriano last year what do you think they’re going to do after a first round playoff exit? It’ll be positively geriatric up in here! And, … Pulojs will look good in pinstripes too.

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