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Yankees will meet to formulate plan to keep CC Sabathia

Oct 26, 2011, 10:17 AM EDT

CC Sabathia Reuters

While the New York Daily News photo-shops CC Sabathia into a Red Sox uniform the New York Post (and George King) reports that the Yankees will meet in Florida to formulate a plan to keep Sabathia.

A few months ago there were several reports about how Sabathia had no plans to exercise his opt-out clause, but at this point just about everyone seems to agree that he’ll do so and test free agency.

And rightfully so, because from Sabathia’s point of view there’s really no downside to hitting the open market even if his ultimate goal is to remain with the Yankees. He can do that, but also get a bigger commitment from New York than the four years and $92 million remaining on his current deal.

According to King “the Yankees will develop a plan they hope will keep Sabathia from opting out of a contract following the World Series.”

That makes sense given that he has until three days after the World Series to exercise the opt-out clause and in the meantime the Yankees have exclusive negotiating rights, but it’s hardly guaranteed that Sabathia (or his agent) is willing to agree to a deal before fielding offers as a free agent.

King speculates that the Yankees would be “agreeable” to a five- or six-year deal worth more than the $23 million per season he’s getting now. Last offseason Cliff Lee inked a five-year, $120 million deal with the Phillies, so that would seemingly be the starting point for a new Sabathia contract.

  1. bigxrob - Oct 26, 2011 at 10:31 AM

    Here’s a plan “straight cach homie”

  2. Ari Collins - Oct 26, 2011 at 10:45 AM

    He’ll probably end up with something like 7/168 if he starts fielding offers.

    So would you want your team to pay that?

    ( stilI vote yes.)

    • Ari Collins - Oct 26, 2011 at 10:46 AM

      *I still vote yes.

      • phukyouk - Oct 26, 2011 at 11:07 AM

        NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO!
        i would rather they give him 2 more yrs and $60 mil more than 3 more yrs. if he wants 7 he can walk

      • WhenMattStairsIsKing - Oct 26, 2011 at 12:14 PM

        Is that your ‘GUT’ feeling?

      • bigharold - Oct 26, 2011 at 3:44 PM

        “…if he wants 7 he can walk.”

        Sabathia’s starting point is likely six years 150 mil. He will hands down be the best pitcher available if he hits free agency, . by a wide margin. The closest other pitchers are CJ Wilson, who is about 6 months younger or Roy Oswalt who is about three years older.

        Add to that Lee got 5yr/120 mil last season with a 6th year option that could bring it to over 135 mil and he was a year older than Sabthia is now. The argument will be made that Sabathia might not age well due to his weight. Well, Lee has had chronic back issues that have affected his performance and put him on the DL more than once during his career, including his walk year of 2010. While Sabathia has never been on the DL so holding his weight against him in a negotiation will be tough.

        Those are just the reasons that the Yankees want to sign him. Beyond that they just can’t afford to lose him. The have decent pitching without him but no ace. He is the anchor of the staff and what’s more he knows it. And, if he doesn’t I’m sure his agent has pointed it out to him a few times. The entire rotation works if he’s there and doesn’t if he’s not. He’s produced as well as could be hoped for during the last three seasons.

        Giving the type of contract suggested here to any player no matter the age is a huge gamble. Any number of things might happen that could effectively render him useless over 6 or 7 years. That being said Sabathia is worth the gamble, the Yankees need him and they can afford him. He’s given them everything they could have asked for his first three years in terms of production, professionalism and they way he has generally comported himself. While many fret that he’s too heavy and won’t age well I think he’ll be fine. He’s a BIG man and always has been and he’s smart. He’ll adjust his pitching to his abilities and skills. He should remain a dominant pitcher for the next 2-4 years and should be an effective pitcher beyond that in the same way Andy Pettitte was once. It’s sure is a gamble but in my opinion Sabathia is worth it. I would think that eventually he’s looking at 6 years with a vesting option for the 7th year. in the 170-180 mil range.

        Which reminds me, .. I need to get out to the backyard and assist my son with his pitching drills.

      • Ari Collins - Oct 26, 2011 at 8:05 PM

        Rarely agree with you, Harold, but you’re dead on here.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Oct 26, 2011 at 11:20 AM

      7 years is a lot. I like the post at RAB*. 6 years would be nice, 7 tops as CC hasn’t had any injury issues unlike Lee.


    • uyf1950 - Oct 26, 2011 at 11:25 AM

      Sorry, I don’t see a team out there that will go 7 years $168M ($24M per). 6 years, yes but NOT 7.

  3. Ben - Oct 26, 2011 at 11:30 AM

    I can’t help but think that C.C. Sabathia is offering the Yankees a gift here. Offer him 4 years, 110 million, or 4 years, 100 million with two years of team options, but no more. Let someone else pay for his age 36 and 37 seasons if they really want to. He’s a phenomenal pitcher, and maybe he’s got the body type to still be good at 36, but with the state of the Yankees’ books, is it worth finding out? The Yankees have an enormous amount of money on the books in guys like ARod, is it worth becoming an even older team?
    And while he has the leverage, is there a market for him? I suppose one will emerge, but it’s not obvious to me who is going to fork over that cash for him.
    The other thing is, what are the Yankees going to use the saved 23 million on? They have no use for Prince, Pujols, Reyes.

    • Ari Collins - Oct 26, 2011 at 11:38 AM

      Any competitor but the Phillies could use more pitching. It’s not like a position player, where, say, Pujols won’t get courted by the Yankees or Red Sox because the position’s filled. There aren’t many teams that couldn’t use an ace.

      New York
      Chicago Cubs
      Los Angeles Angels
      St. Louis

      Some of those are more likely than others (the Marlins are always rumored to spend, so I’m not sure I believe the most recent rumors), but at the least every one from SF up would likely be involved.

      • phukyouk - Oct 26, 2011 at 12:00 PM

        you left TB off that list. we have no idea if Price was a fluke this yr or the yr before only time will tell. TB would GREATLY benefit from CC without question. in fact i would say that they would be the most aggressive. i mean with CC they would have a rotation of CC, Price, Shield, new guy and newer guy (cannot remember names right now). that would effectively make them the Phillies of the AL. Detroit would be in a similar situation with Verlander/CC combo but would it make them a MUCH better team? I don’t think so.

      • uyf1950 - Oct 26, 2011 at 12:19 PM

        Ari, no argument on your comment in general about teams and an ace. The real issue is how many of those teams would be willing to commit to 7 years and say approximately $160M. None that I can see on your list.
        Just taking who you think might be interested from SF up.
        SF, doesn’t need pitching, they need offense. Pitching is the least of their concerns.
        Cubs, come on the Cubs. Even if they were interested, why would CC leave NY for the perennial losers.
        Texas, according to Nolan Ryan he has already stated that CC doesn’t fit into their plans. Besides why sign CC for possible 7 years $160M when they can sign Wilson for probably 5 years a $100M at most. And besides they have a group of FA’s or soon to be FA’s they are going to cost them some serious money.
        Detroit, a possibility I guess. But they have a very good starting pitching group at a very good salary. Why upset the “apple” cart and offer CC $24M per possibly for 7 year when they have arguably the best pitcher in the Major leagues making less than that.
        Toronto, who knows they may be a wild card. But again I think 7 years will scare them off.
        Red Sox, other then to drive up the price for the Yankees I don’t see them seriously attempting to sign CC. Their payroll in 2012 without any “OUTSIDE” big signing is probably going to hit about $175 to $180M in 2012. And they have traditionally stayed under the luxury tax threshold ($170M in 2011). Besides they already have a 1 and 1A in Lester and Beckett. Their need is for a #3 and #4 that can be had for a lot less money and years.

        The Yankees are the only team remaining from your list that you think would be interested that I’ve not addressed. To be honest who knows for sure what the Yankees will offer. But I get the sense with the “new” way of thinking with Cashman they will hold firm at a max of 6 years guaranteed and only if necessary go to a 7th year either vested or a mutual option. BTW, I do NOT see Levine getting personally involved in the contract discussions with CC. I think the Soriano deal taught him a lesson.

        Now having said all of that, we should find out something in the next 10 days plus or minus. It should be interesting in any case.

      • Ben - Oct 26, 2011 at 12:36 PM

        Exactly as uyf1950 said–everyone wants an ace, aces are great. Who has a spare 160 million and spare years of risk for a 30-year old ace?
        Boston–maybe. New GM wants to make a splash, could see it.
        Toronto–I’d bet they make an effort to sign Fielder.
        Detroit–maybe, but I’m not sure how much sense it makes.
        Of the rest of your list, only the Angels and maybe St. Louis make any sense, but not a huge amount.

      • Ari Collins - Oct 26, 2011 at 12:53 PM

        Disagree on TB, phukyouk… they have absolutely zero history of paying for big FAs, and I doubt they’re going to start.

        And yeah, uyf, Boston is a longshot since they don’t have the payroll flexibility New York has… but, then again, Boston does occasionally go over the luxury tax line, and ownership may want to make a big splash to keep the bandwagon fans interested.

        SF isn’t going to turn down Sabathia because they need offense. Teams can succeed with pitching alone if it’s good enough, and Lincecum/Sabathia/Cain/Bumgarner would make them easy favorites. Not to mention that Posey will presumably be back, helping their offense. And SF has a history of giving out big contracts.

        Same goes for Detroit, in terms of contracts given out and not possibly having enough pitching. Whether the team WANTS to open the checkbook or not is another thing, but with the potential exception of Philadelphia, there isn’t a single contender that couldn’t use an ace.

        And we don’t know if Sabathia would turn down the Cubs because they’ve lost in the past. Many players sign big contracts with losing teams, either because the money is good enough or they believe the team will turn it around.

        And excuse me while I take what Nolan Ryan says with a grain of salt. Many, many times has a GM or owner said a player isn’t in their plans, only to sign them later. It means about as much as someone saying they don’t plan to opt out of their contract.

        I agree that New York is the heavy favorite. They have both more payroll flexibility and more need than any other team. I’m just pointing out that there most definitely is a market for him. If he opts out and reaches free agency, there will be many bidders for his services. Even if it’s fairly certain where he’ll end up in the end.

      • uyf1950 - Oct 26, 2011 at 1:25 PM

        Ari, you forget to include Ryan Vogelsong in the list of SF Giants pitchers. I understand where you are coming from I don’t agree with you but I understand. What I don’t understand and it gets back to the Giants. If I understand you correctly if CC, Pujols and Fielder all hit free agency. Your telling me that CC would be the Giants 1st option for them to “throw” out an offer for 7 years at approximately $23 to $25M per. When it would take only a little bit more to sign Pujols and probably take no more than that to sign Fielder. Even realizing the “main” need of the Giants is offense. I have to disagree with you on that that scenario.

        The Giants starting 4 rotation of: Lincecum/Cain/Bumgarner/Vogelsong is plenty strong. Speaking of Posey coming back. Sure he should be able to do the job, but there are no guarantees after an injury that keeps a player out virtually the entire year. Just a thought.

      • Ari Collins - Oct 26, 2011 at 1:32 PM

        No, you have a good point about their priority being offense. But there will be plenty of other teams in on Puols and Fielder as well, and there aren’t many premium FAs this year. No team is going to avoid bidding on Sabathia because they’re hoping for Pujols or Fielder; it’s unlikely for any one team to be the high bidder on them. It’s a poor idea to focus on one or two players who could help you and not bid on others that could help you almost as well.

        Also, Pujols is going to cost a LOT more than Sabathia… $100M more would be conservative, I think. How much do you think they’ll each get? I actually think Fielder will get less than Sabathia, though not by too much.

        As to Vogelsong, you don’t think twice about getting Sabathia because it would mean pushing Ryan Vogelsong from #4 to #5 in your rotation.

      • uyf1950 - Oct 26, 2011 at 1:48 PM

        Ari, let me address your last comment first. I don’t think the Giants think twice about Sabathia because of Vogelsong. I think they think twice and maybe a third time because of Pujols and Fielder. And because if they want to keep Lincecum and Cain they are going to have to allocate a lot of moneyin both 2013 and beyond for just those 2 pitchers. And that doesn’t include whatever their intentions are with Beltran’s upcoming contract negotiations.

        As for what I think Pujols and Fielder will go for. I think Pujols will get 8 years (possible just 7 guaranteed with and easy vesting option) with for around $240M. As for Fielder, I think he gets 7 years because he’s still very young (28 come May of 2012) think he’s looking at Ryan Howard type money $25M per. So I’d say he’s going to get somewhere between $160 to $175M total.

        But who knows for sure.

      • uyf1950 - Oct 26, 2011 at 2:01 PM

        Ari, BTW I can see the Cubs being interested in Fielder and throwing some serious money his way. They let Pena walk he’s a FA this year anyway. Fielder is about 6 years younger I believe and the Cubs play in the same division as what would be Fielders “old” team in that case. Just a thought.

      • phukyouk - Oct 26, 2011 at 2:11 PM

        “Disagree on TB, phukyouk… they have absolutely zero history of paying for big FAs, and I doubt they’re going to start.”

        they have also never been a serious contender until recently. With Price’s recent struggles and the possibility of them becoming the best or second best team in the AL east for the next few years it would be a no brainer for them. not saying its going to happen but with CC they easily pass the Sox as a favorite for second place in the AL east and since their gain would be the Yanks loss they could win the AL east for the next couple years. not saying its going to happen but you have to see the possibilities.

      • uyf1950 - Oct 26, 2011 at 2:32 PM

        phukyouk, considering the Rays 2011 payroll was just about $41M and their 2011 home attendance was about 4,000 less than in 2010 to under 19,000 per home game. I can’t see them investing approximately $25M per year over the next 6 odd years for “ANY” player. It’s just not going to happen.

    • uyf1950 - Oct 26, 2011 at 11:44 AM

      Ben, for a team like the Yankees with their revenue source as of today they have virtually no money committed to long term contracts after the 2013 season.
      In 2014 – Committed payroll $71.5M
      In 2015 – Committed payroll $66.5M
      In 2016 – Committed payroll $42.5M
      In 2017 – Committed payroll $20M

      Like a said for the Yankees with their revenue stream the above numbers would probably equate to ZERO dollars if they were a mid market team. The Yankees can easily afford to take CC contract current expiration at the end of 2015 and extend him to the end of 2017 with no appreciable effect on their ability to sigh “other” players.

      • phukyouk - Oct 26, 2011 at 12:01 PM

        I’m not sure i understand where those numbers come from. can you clarify?

      • uyf1950 - Oct 26, 2011 at 12:25 PM

        phukyouk, go to the following link. Scroll down to the row that says: Dollars Committed. It’s the 2nd or 3rd row item in what is a shaded area. It’s pretty self explanatory.

      • phukyouk - Oct 26, 2011 at 2:15 PM

        Sorry i misread your post. understood now

    • Bill - Oct 26, 2011 at 12:06 PM

      “The state of the Yankees’ books” = FREE UNLIMITED MONEY FOREVER. They could be paying five 41 year old A-Rods, and I’m still not sure they bat an eye at this kind of commitment to Sabathia.

    • brettj666 - Oct 26, 2011 at 2:50 PM

      The Yankees said to Arod, “if you opt out, we aren’t going to negotiate with you”. He did and they did.

      Sabathia knows full well no matter what happens, the Yankees can’t afford to not sign him.

      And let’s face it, they really don’t care about salary. Whatever the cost, the fans will pay it. It’s not like it’s coming out of the team’s pocket.

      When fans screamed “You can’t let the Captain go”, no problem, we’ll pay him even though no one else would (at more than half that amount)

      If you are amongst the top 5 at any position, the Yankees want to talk to you because how could the richest team not have the best players that their fans could afford.

      • Ari Collins - Oct 26, 2011 at 8:09 PM

        I’d forgotten about that “if you opt out, we won’t negotiate with you” bs. Man, how the Yankees handled that one was truly insane.

  4. philliesblow - Oct 26, 2011 at 11:49 AM

    “A few months ago there were several reports about how Sabathia had no plans to exercise his opt-out clause”

    There was a misunderstanding. What CC said was that he has no plans to exercise, period.

  5. WhenMattStairsIsKing - Oct 26, 2011 at 12:16 PM

    Let’s say he does get more on the open market. Will his life change even the tiniest bit between making 92 million in 4 years or not? What would the end result be, he won’t be able to afford a second private jet?

    Honestly, this chase for money can be ridiculous sometimes.

    • Ari Collins - Oct 26, 2011 at 1:19 PM

      An extra $60M can make a big difference for his kids and his kids’ kids.

      • phukyouk - Oct 26, 2011 at 3:14 PM

        Honestly it cannot. is he invested what he is currently making at even the most conservative rates his kids kids kids will be just fine. this has NOTHING to do with CC and EVERYTHING to do with his agent getting yet another payday.

    • brettj666 - Oct 26, 2011 at 3:44 PM

      Well, a few things I know for certain. Athletes are rarely smart people (financially speaking)

      They get people to invest their money to make it ‘work for them’, when they should realize they don’t need it to work for them.

      Even with a salary of $60,000 a year, 2.4 million would be a working career.
      Athletes become bankrupt because they can’t live in a normal world and they want more. Always more.

      $60 extra (as Ari suggested) would be entire careers for a player, 4 kids and 10 grand kids. But who would want to hand an entire lifetime of earnings to anyone.
      If I had $100,000,000, I would not make life so easy for my child that she’d never have to work. Working towards something helps with making goals and striving for them.

      It’s because everything has to be big in the entertainment industry that these people need this excess..

      All on the backs of the fans.

    • Lukehart80 - Oct 26, 2011 at 6:33 PM

      No, he doesn’t *need* the extra money, but the Yankees don’t either, so why does anyone think it’s better for him to let them keep the extra money he’s able to get?

      Why does no one get angry at the Yankees for paying their top prospects so much less than their abilities merit when they can clearly afford to pay more? Why does no one get angry that the Yankees don’t make all of their bleacher seats available for free to working class families? After all, the franchise would still have boatloads of money without making a penny off of those seats.

      I’m not suggesting the team should do either of those things, but no bats an eye at them maximizing their revenue, even though they already have enough money to feed their children, so why is it players are vilified if they go for more money?

    • bigharold - Oct 26, 2011 at 8:32 PM

      “Honestly, this chase for money can be ridiculous sometimes.”

      That is not the point. What most fans either fail to see or refuse to admit is that MLB is a business, just like a 7-11 or a McDonald’s or whatever. And it’s not even question that he works for the Yankees who can certainly afford it. The fact remains that baseball owners that aren’t complete morons, (yes Frank McCourt I’m referring to you), are basically businessman and expect to turn a profit. On a very significant level they’re in it for the money first and foremost. Yet, it’s only the players that are accused on being mercenary because at times it’s perceived that they consider overall salary and compensation too.

      Consider this; owners usually hold on to their teams for decades but players only have a window of opportunity that spans several years, .. if that. Owners usually are businessman that have multiple streams of income. Players generally have baseball, .. that’s it. If the debate here is that players get too much versus the rest of society that’s one issue and is a valid debate. If the debate is that players earn too much versus what teams/owners are capable of paying or what their services are worth that is not only a different debate but is on it’s face without merit. If they were unable to pay the salaries then they would not. For every over priced free agent there is a player that is underpaid versus his performance. If the player was not assumed to be worth the risk in terms of dollars and years he probably wouldn’t get the contract. Which is not to say that teams give out terrible contracts, (that right John Lackey/Carl Pavano I’m talking to you), but that is frequently the result of poor FO judgments. Players should ALWAYS do what is best for them which may or may not mean take the highest offer. In most cases I would wager that it is an equation that factors money, home life, the opportunity to win regularly as well as other things.

      Fans are really the closest thing to permanent in the team player fan dynamic. Owner eventually come and go. Players do so much more quickly. Only fans are constant. Also they are the only part of the dynamic that doesn’t include a profit motive. Which I would guess is the reason why they take the most offense to financial aspect. Remember that what happens on the field is baseball the rest is business. Or, to paraphrase Michael Corleone, .. it’s not personal i t’s business.

      • bigharold - Oct 26, 2011 at 8:55 PM

        “The fact remains that baseball owners that aren’t complete morons, (yes Frank McCourt I’m referring to you), are basically businessman and expect to turn a profit.”

        I meant to say Most baseball owners are not morons.

  6. paulsdamnblog - Oct 26, 2011 at 3:10 PM

    How pregnant does Sabathia look in that picture??? It looks like he’s ready to give birth to colt or something.

  7. haroldb1234 - Oct 26, 2011 at 3:41 PM

    cc will not leave yanks. they’ll make a satisfactory offer. sox should avoid him. too old (31). sox should invest in youth. cj wilson not as good, but would be on team longer, and could improve as he did this year.

    • uyf1950 - Oct 26, 2011 at 6:33 PM

      CC Sabathia DOB: July 1980
      CJ Wilson DOB: Nov. 1980

      Not a lot of difference in their ages.

  8. steelerchicken - Oct 27, 2011 at 12:58 AM

    What is there to discuss? Give him whatever he wants. Money is no object to that team. They are the pinstripe prostitutes.

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