Skip to content

Report: CC Sabathia set to opt out of contract

Oct 30, 2011, 7:12 PM EDT

CC Sabathia Reuters

As widely anticipated, CC Sabathia is planning to opt out of the remaining four years of his contract prior to Monday night’s deadline,’s Jon Heyman reports.

The Associated Press says that the Yankees have made Sabathia a new offer in an attempt to get him to forgo opting out. Sabathia has $92 million left on the seven-year, $161 million contract he signed with the Yankees after the 2008 season.

Heyman states that the Yankees remain the favorites to sign Sabathia, but that the 31-year-old left-hander does plan to explore his options. Heyman lists the Red Sox, Cubs, Tigers, Blue Jays and Rangers as candidates to put in bids.

Sabathia could be in line something like $150 million over six years as part of a new contract. That would give him a $25 million annual salary, compared to the $23 million he’d be giving up by opting out.

  1. uyf1950 - Oct 30, 2011 at 7:19 PM

    I just hope that whatever the outcome the Yankees don’t sit on their thumbs and wait and wait and wait some more for an answer like they did with Lee. Make him an offer make him your best offer and if it’s not good enough or their isn’t a response in a very reasonable time move on. If he truly wants to play and stay in NY then the Yankees best offer should be good enough for him. If it’s not offer him arbitration take the draft choice from whichever team signs him and go “balls to the wall” to sign someone else or trade for someone else. That’s just my opinion.

    • pjmarn6 - Oct 30, 2011 at 9:37 PM

      I didn’t know a man could use two toilets at the same time. My father was a rude profane man who one day came home angry that someone got the better of him in a deal and picked up a lot of money. My father was yelling and screaming saying how many s**t holes can a man take a crap in at the same time!

      My position it is ridiculous to pay these players so much. Just because he has a slightly better hand eye coordination and can throw a toy better should make him earn 625 times more a year than a school teacher.

      • pjmarn6 - Oct 30, 2011 at 9:42 PM

        All you people who applaud these overpaid athletes are the same ones who criticize the owners making this kind of money. Now I am not in favor of the owners making this kind of money either but they have a lot more work to do than just go out there ever 4-5 days and throw a ball 100 times.

        So make up your minds yell and scream about CEOs and corporation big shots getting big paydays and hiring thousands of people but then you better start yelling at these players who have 1/1000 the responsibility and can sit on their asses after 5 seasons and laugh up their sleeves at us poor suckers.

      • dnc6 - Oct 31, 2011 at 12:40 AM

        Well then stop paying for tickets and cable, and donate that money to your local school. And get your friends to do the same. If you want to watch baseball, head down to the local high school. And we’ll have to convince all these kids graduating from college with all this debt and no job to hold out until they get an excellent salary. Until then, the current state of supply and demand will remain in place.

      • bigharold - Oct 31, 2011 at 1:26 AM

        “My position it is ridiculous to pay these players so much.’

        You might as well be complaining that water is wet and the sky is blue.

        If you want you can pontificate with regard to professional athletics or the entertainment industry and their place or value in society as a philosophical issues I think you are in the wrong forum . Railing against professional athletes making exorbitant salaries is not only a waste of time but ignores a couple of very substantial issues, such as;

        1. If owners cut players salaries in half the price of tickets, concessions, MLB gear or cable would not drop a nickel. For the most part the current pricing of these items a a function of supply and demand and not nearly that of being driven by player’s salaries. Salaries are part of the equation but a very small part.

        2. If the teams/owners couldn’t afford these salaries they likely wouldn’t pay them. There are teams that don’t make the slightest effort to sign significant FA because their owners would rather walk away with tens of millions in profit every year.

        Most of the talk about baseball salaries seems to center around “greedy” players which is asinine. Or, ways to inhibit salary growth through things like salary caps, in effect keeping salaries artificially low. But why? When these things are discussed there is NEVER any serious talk about giving the fans, .. the people that in fact pay the bills, any relief from having to pay $100+ face value for half way decent seats, not to mention all the legal scalpers that will sell you tickets for multiples of heir face value AND add a commission.

        If everybody else is going to get their cut why single out the player? Teams are always there, .. owners are around for decades but the players have the smallest window of opportunity and are the most at risk. Sabathia will get paid exactly what the market determines he’s worth and he’ll likely do his best to earn that money too.

        Railing against the inequity of players salaries, profanely or otherwise, ignores the current dynamic of of the free agent system and essential baseball economics. Also, it’s a bit myopic since you are singling out players and not owners or the cable companies or… any number of entities that earn a profit thanks directly or indirectly from MLB.

        If the system is going to devour so much of our attention and resources I’d just as soon see the players get their cut too.

      • marinersnate - Oct 31, 2011 at 2:15 AM

        @ pjmarn6

        “My position it is ridiculous….”

        I totally agree. Your position is very ridiculous.

    • pisano - Oct 31, 2011 at 8:18 AM

      ufy1950…. my friend, I couldn’t agree more. If he tries to play the highest bidder thing, then the Yankees should move on. There’s only a few teams that can afford him and if they want to over pay for him, that’s their business. Personally I feel he’s more than compensated for his services, but that’s just my opinion. The Yankees can do a lot with the money they save if they don’t sign him. Hopefully they have an alternate plan if this doesn’t work for them.

  2. Marty - Oct 30, 2011 at 7:23 PM

    Besides Boston, any of those clubs really in the position to tie up $25 mil/year?

    • Ari Collins - Oct 30, 2011 at 7:52 PM

      Tigers or Blue Jays maybe.

    • yankeesgameday - Oct 30, 2011 at 10:48 PM


      But I still think cc winds up in san fran if he doesn’t resign with ny.

  3. baseballisboring - Oct 30, 2011 at 7:26 PM

    Paying an overweight (albeit extremely durable to this point) pitcher on the wrong side of 30 $25MM a year scares the crap out of me. I’m not sure he does much better than what he already had with the Yankees on the open market, but he could probably score an extra year on his contract.

    • Ari Collins - Oct 30, 2011 at 7:54 PM

      Considering that Lee was a year older with a shorter period of dominance and an actual injury history, and he got 6 year offers, I doubt Sabathia won’t get at least 6.

      Agreed that I’m not positive I want my team to sign him, but the first several years of the deal might well be worth it.

      • baseballisboring - Oct 30, 2011 at 10:44 PM

        They’re different, though. Lee is less of a power pitcher, isn’t overweight, and has much less mileage on his arm even being a year older than Sabathia. Like I said, I think CC can score an extra year, maybe even two on his contract while making the same salary, but that’s about it. Maybe that’s all he really wants.

      • bigharold - Oct 31, 2011 at 1:43 AM

        “They’re different, though. Lee is less of a power pitcher, …”

        True but Sabathia isn’t only a power pitcher. He can be overpowering but he’s smart too. He could lose a couple of mile off his fastball and still be a winner because he knows what he’s doing.

        “(Lee).. isn’t overweight, and has much less mileage on his arm even being a year older than Sabathia.”

        No, but he has much less mileage on his arm in part because he’s had chronic back problems that have put him on the DL more than once, including his walk year in 2010.

        Giving this type of contract to ant athlete his a big risk. Over a 6-7 year period there are any number of thing that could render him either completely or partially ineffective. But, Sabathia would seem to be worth the risk due to his past performance on and off the field. Is he a big man, .. absolutely. But, he’s always been one. He’s done everything the Yankees could have asked for in his three years in NY. Add to that the Yankees need him, their rotation is viable with him and isn’t if he leaves. Nobody is expecting either Colon or Garcia to contribute similarly next year.

        Considering Lee’s contract, that he was older and had had a history of back troubles, Sabathia contract negotiations likely starts at about 6yrs/150Mil, plus an option for a 7th year.

      • baseballisboring - Oct 31, 2011 at 2:48 AM

        Meh, I think you’re pretty spot on with with what you’re saying. I’m just taking the under as far as what he actually ends up with, time will tell.

    • baseballstars - Oct 31, 2011 at 12:37 AM

      Great post. As a Yankee fan who knows ARod will not come close to justifying the tail end of his contract, overpaying yet another athlete set to decline scares the crap out of me.

      Being a Titans fan, we are still reeling from the Chris Johnson signing. Thank God the Yankees don’t have to worry about a salary cap.

  4. stinkinfish - Oct 30, 2011 at 7:31 PM

    He isn’t going anywhere. Sabathia knows that he’s got the Yanks by the balls and can name his price for the next 6 or 7 years. Losing out on Lee last year cost them a significant amount of leverage with CC.

    • Ari Collins - Oct 30, 2011 at 7:55 PM

      Good point.

  5. sdelmonte - Oct 30, 2011 at 7:38 PM

    I don’t think he’s leaving NYC. But I wonder what he wants that the Yankees didn’t offer. Years, probably.

  6. missingdiz - Oct 30, 2011 at 8:01 PM

    I’m a Cards fan, so I don’t really care what the Yankees do. But I do care about MLB, and it’s getting crazier all the time. Look at the picture. That’s a gut the size of a beachball. Imagine all that coming down on the right knee 100+ times a game, 30+ times a year–not counting warm-ups, off-day sessions, etc. Knees are knees, nobody has super knees. Imagine the strain on his lower back. Or the hip joint. Whatever the money, which is crazy enough, anybody signing him for more than two years max. is going to throw away tens of millions, maybe 100 million or more.

    I don’t wish any harm to Sabbathia, but I don’t see how he can avoid it without losing 80 lbs. or so.

    • dnc6 - Oct 31, 2011 at 12:51 AM

      He’s been doing it for 10 years as a major leaguer, and shown a remarkable bill of health. He’s not a good bet to stay healthy, but most of that risk is an inherent risk that all pitchers carry. I’ll gladly take him for the next 3-5 years. I have little doubt he projects to be a top 10 starter over that timeframe.

  7. icanspeel - Oct 30, 2011 at 8:25 PM

    I’d be surprised if he goes anywhere else. Opting out of the contract just gives him more leverage for the negotiations to get what he wants from the Yankees.

  8. mikeinthevine - Oct 30, 2011 at 8:31 PM

    I’m an Indians fan and am very familiar with CC. Class individual and a great pitcher. The question now becomes, how much is enough? At his current rate, he’s going to make more money than he or his kids could spend in a lifetime. The other side of the coin is, even though the owners whine and cry about salaries (ie, NBA) some owner is going to pony up the cash to sign Sabathia to whatever he wants. At what point does the well run dry?

    • Reflex - Oct 30, 2011 at 10:09 PM

      When people stop going to ballgames. Right now there is plenty of money to go around, however.

      • bigharold - Oct 31, 2011 at 1:53 AM

        That is exactly it. Prices are more a reflection of supply and demand with players salaries being a small part of the equation.

        Unless and until people stop going to games, cancel their cable baseball packages and stop buying MLB gear there isn’t a chance that salaries, prices and the general cost associated with MLB will do anything but go up.

        Does anybody see that happening anytime soon? I thought we might see it with the recession in late 2008 but not really.

  9. uyf1950 - Oct 30, 2011 at 10:02 PM

    I may be totally wrong and it wouldn’t be the first time. But I do not see the Yankees breaking the bank so to speak to sign CC. I firmly believe Cashman and the Steinbrenners have a number in mind that they will not exceed. If that number fits into CC’s comfort level for resigning with the Yankees then the deal gets done if it doesn’t I can honestly see the Yankees walking away and looking at “other” opportunities. Worst case they tread water until the trade deadline in 2012 or the end of the 2012 season when in all likelihood the FA class is much better. In any case we will find out soon enough.

    • bigharold - Oct 31, 2011 at 2:11 AM

      “But I do not see the Yankees breaking the bank so to speak to sign CC. I firmly believe Cashman and the Steinbrenners have a number in mind that they will not exceed.”

      To some extent the term “breaking the bank” is somewhat vague. Also, it certainly means one thing to the Yankees and something else again to the rest of baseball too.

      But, I think you are wrong for 4 reasons;

      1. Sabathia earned every bit of his contract these last three season.
      2. He’s been everything the Yankees could have hoped for on the field, off the field and in the club house. Ask yourself have you read one negative article about him in three years?
      3. There are no other options out there that do anything but save the Yankees money, .. the one thing the Yankees have in abundance. Waiting on a mid season trade is risky because it may not present itself or be far too expensive in terms of young arms/prospects, .. something that is less abundant. for the Yankees.
      4. This is a team that went out and got Soriano, a very expensive closer, last year even though the Yankees didn’t need one, the one they had was better and the GM publicly stated that he didn’t want him.

      The Yankees can pay the cost for Sabathia and they need him to anchor the rotation. Since Lee got 6-7 yrs/120-135 mil i’d think that Sabathia will be looking for 25 mil per for 6 yrs with an option. For most teams that’s breaking the bank but for the Yankees, .. not so much.

      • uyf1950 - Oct 31, 2011 at 4:59 AM

        I agree. Perhaps I should have been more clear as to how people/fans would interpret the term “breaking the bank”. I think the Yankees are willing to go 6 guaranteed years at $25M per as I’ve posted on this site several times already over the past week. I do NOT see them going 7 guaranteed years though. Perhaps a vesting option for the 7th year but not guaranteed, out of the gate.
        Also keep in mind your reference to Soriano is an mistake though. Soriano was a deal done by Levine that Cashman did not want to do and that he made obvious many times. I’m sure Levine will not be in on the negotiations with CC. I believe Soriano taught him his lesson and I wouldn’t be surprised if Cashman made that clear when he’s been talking with Hal Steinbrenner for his own contract. So I don’t think Soriano’s deal will have any bearing on the negotiations with CC from the Yankees ownership (Levine) being involved standpoint.
        I think we are both on the same page with CC.

  10. linedrivehit - Oct 30, 2011 at 11:05 PM

    I was just glad to see that the two teams that tried to buy a championship (Yankees and Phillies) lost out in the first round of the playoffs. It was refreshing to see the Rangers and the Cardinals in the Series and I enjoyed every minute and every inning.

    • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Oct 30, 2011 at 11:34 PM

      Th Rangers signed the third-biggest free agent contract on offense last year (Beltre) and tried for Lee. What did the Yankees or Phillies do that the Ranges didn’t?

    • badmamainphilliesjamas - Oct 31, 2011 at 9:40 AM

      It seems pretty clear (even by your admission) that no team can buy a championship. This is a pretty tired line.
      Just wondering . . . if an organization has significant revenue from attendance, media deals, etc., would you be happier if the owners pocketed the money?

  11. halladaysbiceps - Oct 31, 2011 at 12:00 AM

    Sabathia should opt into a contract with Jenny Craig. Seriously, look at his gut. He needs to lose some serious weight. Do you want to give another 100+ million contract to a fatso that will only perform worse when he gets older with that load?

  12. halladaysbiceps - Oct 31, 2011 at 12:11 AM

    I thought of something else. I thought Sid Fernandez and David West were fat/heavy guys. But, Sabathia right now looks like he has an easy +60 pounds on both of them. If I were a Yankees fan, I wouldn’t be so quick to give him another massive contract unless there is a weight clause in it. If not, he may eat is way into mediocrity.

  13. baseballstars - Oct 31, 2011 at 12:40 AM

    It was dumb to offer a contract with this stipulation. The team wouldn’t win regardless.

    • halladaysbiceps - Oct 31, 2011 at 12:45 AM

      Why would it not be prudent for the Yankees organization to offer a contract with a weight stipulation when you are talking about 100+million dollar extension? And why wouldn’t that help the Yankees to win with a trimmer Sabathia in the next few years?

    • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Oct 31, 2011 at 8:58 AM

      I assume you are referring to the opt out clause in his current contract. If so,

      (1) offering it landed them the free agent they wanted (needed really)
      (2) They won the world series with CC as their ace in 2009

      If the Yankees had signed CC to a 3 year deal with $66 Million, everyone would have said it was the greatest GM coup in history. That is essentially what happened here. CC has been worth every penny.

      • Ari Collins - Oct 31, 2011 at 10:24 AM

        Yes, a 3-year deal would have been fantastic, because it would have minimized risk. However, the Yankees would have had an albatross contract had Sabathia gotten hurt or declined. That’s what makes it not just a 3-year deal.

        If there’s a TEAM opt-out, the team gets the upside of the player overperforming the contract, in which case they don’t opt out, AND it protects them from risk if the player underperforms, in which case they can opt out of it.

        In a standard, opt-out-less contract, the team gets the upside of the player overperforming the contract, but takes on the risk of the player underperforming.

        In a player opt-out contract, the team takes on the risk of an underperforming player without ANY upside if the player does well.

        This is basic economics. There is no time when a player opt-out is good for the team.

        Now, maybe you can justify it because it landed them the free agent and they won the world series with him, but I’m not sure that argument holds water. He might have told them he needed the opt-out to sign with them, but who else was offering anywhere near the Yankees’ offer? We’ll never know if Sabathia really would have taken a lower offer elsewhere if he didn’t get the opt-out, and by not playing hardball with him the Yankees cost themselves a great 4-year $92M contract on a pitcher in his prime.

        You could certainly believe either way, and maybe I’m wrong. We’ll never know. But just as with the Rafael Soriano opt-out, where the Yankees are similarly facing the issue of giving all the contract control to the player, the Yanks appear to me to have given out opt-outs without ever needing to.

  14. romoscollarbone - Oct 31, 2011 at 1:07 AM

    Just funny that he had an opt out clause to begin with.

    • halladaysbiceps - Oct 31, 2011 at 1:16 AM

      It’s actually ridiculous that the Yankees agreed to it. Why? They are going to pay more for this fiasco. And, looking at the guy’s physical condition, they may pay for it in more ways than they think.

  15. halladaysbiceps - Oct 31, 2011 at 2:42 AM

    You people that thumbed me down are typical a-holes. I make legitimate points and get thumbed down regardless. Get a life.

    Like me or not, judge me by the comment, not the bicepts BS.

    I think this was what Chris F. alluded to…

    • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Oct 31, 2011 at 9:01 AM

      Get a life.

      How much of your self-worth is tied up in the thumbs up/thumbs down system? Perhaps the life that should be gotten is your own.

    • loungefly74 - Oct 31, 2011 at 9:05 AM

      dude…get off your freakin high horse. you are a commenter on a sports web page just like everybody else. if they think your comment is crap or not…then so be it. looks like your feeling the effects of having burned numerous bridges on this site, your credibility is shot with certain circles here.
      …personally, i think you had/have tons of great stuff to say but you gotta start using more “honey than vinegar”. BUT hey man, embrace the villian role! some of the greatest players we watched (a-rod, bonds, canseco, etc…) have been entertaining bad guys and we loved them for it. remember, you know how you know you’re good? when they boo you.

  16. 1historian - Oct 31, 2011 at 9:42 AM

    FYI – I am an old fart.

    How many out there remember Lou Brock?

    These guys make the money they make because that’s how the system works. To me the simple fact that someone makes $25,000,000 a year to throw a baseball is obscene in and of itself but that’s my problem.

    If you wanna pay absurd amounts of money 1) for a ticket 2) A parking space 3) a beer and a hot dog and have to accept the fact that you might be forced to sit next to some obnoxious drunk – that’s your problem. No one MAKES you go to those games.

    If I wanna watch a baseball game I go see the Portland Pirates or I grab a chair and go watch H.S. baseball or college. Take the dog (on a leash or he would chase the ball!), a brew or two, and sit on the sideline.

    That’s just me

Leave Comment

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. J. Baez (2426)
  2. C. Correa (2386)
  3. B. Crawford (2338)
  4. H. Pence (2337)
  5. B. Harper (2134)