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CC Sabathia says spending career in New York “didn’t mean that much” to Robinson Cano

Dec 8, 2013, 8:10 PM EDT

New York Yankees v Houston Astros Getty Images

CC Sabathia was among the many observers shocked to learn that second baseman Robinson Cano will be donning a Mariners uniform, rather than Yankee pinstripes, when the 2014 regular season begins. Sabathia had been Cano’s teammate for five years, ever since he signed a seven-year, $161 million contract to join the Yankees on December 11, 2008. As Andy McCullough of the Star-Ledger details, putting on a Yankees uniform means a lot to Sabathia, but apparently not so much to Cano:

“Just a player like that, putting on the pinstripes, and being able to play your whole career in New York means something – to me, obviously,” Sabathia said after an event showcasing his wife Amber’s CCandy clothing line at The Mall at Short Hills. “It didn’t mean that much to him. It’s a difficult choice being a free agent. And he made a tough choice. I know he’s happy with his decision, and his family’s happy. So that’s good.”

Lest the tone of the quote be taken as sardonic, Sabathia also said, “He made the best decision possible for him and his family. Can’t be mad at him for that.”

McCullough mentions that Sabathia’s surprise was twofold: that the Yankees let Cano go elsewhere, and that Cano indeed chose to go elsewhere.

  1. cackalackyank - Dec 8, 2013 at 8:14 PM


  2. hittfamily - Dec 8, 2013 at 8:16 PM

    Obviously CC. Remember when you opted out of your deal though, and were no longer a New York Yankee, until they outbid everybody?

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Dec 8, 2013 at 8:20 PM

      He actually never opt’d out though. The Yanks re-negotiated before he triggered his opt out clause.

      Was wondering how long it’d take for someone to [incorrectly] bring it up.

      • hittfamily - Dec 8, 2013 at 8:32 PM

        Surely he threatened though. Yanks didn’t renegotiate for nothing. Being a Yankee obviously didn’t matter a whole lot to him when he felt he wasn’t being paid what he should be. The “obviously” in his quote struck a nerve with me.

      • Kevin S. - Dec 8, 2013 at 8:41 PM

        Yes, he used his opt-out for leverage, but it never got to the open bidding stage because they agreed to the extension before he opted out.

      • hittfamily - Dec 8, 2013 at 8:44 PM

        Why’d he put the opt out option in in the first place, if all he cared about was being a Yankee? All I want to do is to stay married to my wife. I didn’t give myself an opt out clause.

      • Kevin S. - Dec 8, 2013 at 8:45 PM

        Hey, I’m agreeing with you.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Dec 8, 2013 at 9:27 PM

        The Yanks put the opt-out in as an incentive to essentially say “hey come join us, but here’s a way to break the contract if you don’t like it here”.

      • Kevin S. - Dec 8, 2013 at 9:34 PM

        Right. The fact that he needed it kind of indicates that it wasn’t some burning desire to don the pinstripes that took him here, it was the money.

        Look, I’m not criticizing the guy for taking the money. I’m glad he did. And I’m sure he now feels an affinity beyond the money for New York. But he’s a Yankee for the exact same reason Robinson Cano isn’t, and it’s a little hypocritical for him to pull that “didn’t want to spend his career in New York” crap.

        Carlos Beltran left a little bit of money on the table to come to New York, and supposedly Cano was willing to leave a little bit, too. Other than that, every player who chose to play for the Yankees (i.e. weren’t drafted or traded) did so because the Yankees offered them more than anybody else did.

      • bigharold - Dec 8, 2013 at 11:40 PM

        “Why’d he put the opt out option in in the first place, ..”

        When the Yankees originally signed him it was clear that Sabathia wanted to stay on the west coast. There was some question as to whether he wanted to be in New York. But, as I remember that was more about life style and the NY media.

        From his standpoint he’d have been foolish not to use the opportunity he had to his advantage. I don’t think that says anything contradictory about his feelings about “putting on pinstripes””.

        What happens on the field is baseball, .. everything else is business.

    • watdoiknow - Dec 9, 2013 at 11:57 AM

      Also.. CC.. you did NOT and will not have spent your whole career with the Yankees.

  3. Kevin S. - Dec 8, 2013 at 8:16 PM

    It’s funny that the same guy who only came to New York because they threw a preposterous amount of money at him AND gave him an opt-out early enough to leverage it would talk about the meaning of finishing his career in pinstripes. For you CC, it meant getting by far the best deal you could. Not staying in pinstripes meant the same thing for Cano.

    • genericcommenter - Dec 8, 2013 at 8:24 PM

      He had other competitive offers. He was one of the top #1 starters in MLB at the time. It wasn’t like the Yankees just threw a bunch of money and no other teams offered. Other guys have similar deals from other teams not named the Yankees.

      • Kevin S. - Dec 8, 2013 at 8:30 PM

        I’m fairly certain the Yankees blew the other offers out of the water.

      • hittfamily - Dec 8, 2013 at 9:20 PM

        It was the largest contract ever signed by a pitcher. For 166 million, I’d OBVIOUSLY want to be a Yankee for life too. Let’s not make it seem like he always had his sights set on being a Yankee. In fact, they had to pay more, because he liked hitting in the NL so much.

      • Kevin Gillman - Dec 8, 2013 at 11:55 PM

        what team? The only team he might have played for at the time were the Dodgers. They never offered him anything.

  4. thebadguyswon - Dec 8, 2013 at 8:24 PM

    Would that kinda be the same as not wanting to spend your whole career in Cleveland?

    Fat idiot.

    • drewzducks - Dec 8, 2013 at 10:12 PM

      Do as I say, not as I do.

  5. emaney477 - Dec 8, 2013 at 8:25 PM

    To churchoftheperpertuallyoutraged,

    I was just about to say the same thing. And to the guy who said he only came here because the Yankees overpaid. We don’t know that. The Yankees came with the big offer up front, so who knows if he wouldn’t have come here if all was equal. At the end of the day, once he became a Yankee, he became proud of the pinstripes, enough as to where he wants to retire a Yankee.

    • hittfamily - Dec 8, 2013 at 8:41 PM

      You don’t know that. He also said he loved hitting, and wanted to stay in the national league. Why’d he put that opt out clause in in the first place, if he wanted to be a Yankee for life? I think it’s kind of bogus for a guy who signed the largest contract ever for a pitcher to say how much he really wanted to be a Yankee, and how Cano really didn’t care about it.

      In fact more than bogus. I think it’s pretty crappy.

  6. uyf1950 - Dec 8, 2013 at 8:26 PM

    Since Cano will never get a plaque or monument in Yankees Stadium’s Monument Park maybe he can lobby the Mariners ownership to build a miniature “Space Needle Park” with him as 2nd Space Needle after he retires. Of course King Felix would have to be the 1st Space Needle.

    • hittfamily - Dec 8, 2013 at 8:51 PM

      So is that how it works? The foreigner doesn’t cut the billionaire Steinbrenners a deal, so now he can’t play on the playground?

      The Steinbrenner’s have never worked a day in their life. Let them pay fair market value.

      • blynch67 - Dec 8, 2013 at 8:58 PM

        I don’t like your line of thinking at all. I think your last comment was way off base.

      • uyf1950 - Dec 8, 2013 at 8:58 PM

        I won’t dignify that post with a reply. Have a good day.

      • hittfamily - Dec 8, 2013 at 9:10 PM

        Do you really think Cano cares about whether he’s in monument park? If the Steinbrenners want him there, then they could have him there. But because they are too cheap, now they are turning his ex teammates against him, and NY media. They leaked their offer to drive his cost down, and it bit them in the a**. Now it is somehow Cano’s fault he won’t be remembered fondly because the son of a man who worked for a living didn’t want to pay him what he deserved.

      • hittfamily - Dec 8, 2013 at 9:15 PM

        And how was it “way off base” and “not going to dignify…”. Maybe I’m missing something? I took the comment as a shot at Cano that now he won’t be in Monument Park. Is it because I said foreigner? I was gonna say poor kid, but he’s the son of a former major leaguer, so he likely isn’t all that poor. My point was he doesn’t owe anything to Hal or New York, and if that means he’s now excluded from Monument park, so be it.

      • drewzducks - Dec 8, 2013 at 10:18 PM

        I’ve heard the Yankees are selling lots in monument park to the general public as a final resting place. Their marketing slogan is R.I.P “Rest in Pride”. Hey, they have to offset all of those empty, overpriced seats somehow.

      • bigharold - Dec 9, 2013 at 1:34 AM

        “The Steinbrenner’s have never worked a day in their life. Let them pay fair market value.”

        Snap out of it already.

        There is no doubt that the Steinbrenner’s were born into wealthy families but between George and Hal, .. and despite Hank you’ve no factual basis for saying that they never worked a day in their life. In fact logic would indicate the opposite, that it’s highly unlikely that an $8.5 mil investment doesn’t become a $2 billion dollar enterprise as the result of massive amount of good fortune and a lot of loafing about.

        And, had the Yankees given that same exact contract to Cano would your remarks had been “.. great that the Yankees paid fair market value”, .. or more along the lines of “.. the Yankees handed out another asinine contract and are ruining baseball”? I’m guessing the latter.

        It’s OK to hate the Steinbrenners and or the Yankees but try and keep your remarks rational. Yankee fans are use to it, .. we can take it. But, unhinged spewing doesn’t make a good argument.

      • hittfamily - Dec 9, 2013 at 7:17 AM

        George worked for what he had. George built ships, then built the Yankees. Hal and Hank have money the same reason W has money…because it was handed down. The man inherited, tax free thanks to W, a 3 billion dollar franchise. I don’t call that working for it.

        Cano earned every penny he has ever earned. The Yankees trying to spin this like Cano is greedy….BULL$HIT!

      • bigharold - Dec 9, 2013 at 12:09 PM

        “The Yankees trying to spin this like Cano is greedy….BULL$HIT!”

        I didn’t see anything where the Yankees were trying to spin anything. Sabathia was asked a question and he gave his answer, .. which didn’t seem all that controversial.

        I’m not sure how the “Yankees” were even brought into this Sabathia comment. And, the only thing that might be perceived as negative about Cano, .. that I’ve read was that he didn’t want o play for Girardi. And, that was attributed to a friend of Cano.

        The Yankees made a business decision, .. as did Cano. Interestingly enough it appears to be the best for both parties. Cano maximized his earnings, the Yankees avoided handing out another ridiculous contract. In fact, I agree that players should get every nickel they can because once their playing days are over, .. they’re over. I’d rather the players get it, the money, than already wealthy owners get ever richer. But I don’t have nor do I see the relevance of your visceral disdain for the Steinbrenners, or any other owner, (except Frank McCourt). There are no villains here nor do I see the point in declaring one either.

      • hittfamily - Dec 9, 2013 at 5:11 PM

        They had Michael Kay go after him for not hustling in the last month of the season, they leaked their below market offer to him, they leaked Cano not wanting to play for Girardi, and now they have their highest paid player saying he didn’t care about being a Yankee. I smell smoke, and I don’t think it’s fair to Cano.

  7. DonKellyBaby - Dec 8, 2013 at 8:34 PM

    Yankees suck

    • tuucamaron - Dec 8, 2013 at 11:53 PM

      you suck

      • 18thstreet - Dec 9, 2013 at 9:31 AM

        Kids, kids. Both you and the Yankees suck.

  8. nymets4ever - Dec 8, 2013 at 8:34 PM

    Cano has a bit of a diva streak doesn’t he?

    • hittfamily - Dec 8, 2013 at 9:00 PM

      They never had to move the walls in to keep him happy though.

      • thebadguyswon - Dec 8, 2013 at 9:14 PM

        Ah yeah…but the Yankees have Little League dimensions in their “park.”

      • hittfamily - Dec 8, 2013 at 9:26 PM

        Short walls or not, someone with the handle “nymets4ever” has to see the humor in calling your rival a diva, when your favorite player was complaining that his stats weren’t good because of the stadium he played in.

        I’m I hell of a golfer when the course doesn’t screw me.

  9. knowmewell85 - Dec 8, 2013 at 8:36 PM

    Why would you let your wife waste your money on a clothing line named CCandy? You would have made more money by simply not agreeing to that.

    • ptfu - Dec 8, 2013 at 9:22 PM

      Because some people want to stay married?

      • hittfamily - Dec 8, 2013 at 9:28 PM

        Did he put an opt out clause in that too?

  10. micker716 - Dec 8, 2013 at 8:39 PM

    Cano took the best monetary offer. Definition of a Yankee.

    • 18thstreet - Dec 9, 2013 at 9:39 AM

      Good grief. They’re all mercenaries. Trust me, there’s a 95 percent chance your favorite player would also be playing for a different team if your favorite team hadn’t offered the most money.

  11. barrywhererufrom - Dec 8, 2013 at 8:42 PM

    Great point CC..Cano wanted the most money he could get..being a Yankee meant nothing to he will hg ave a huge paycheck and no championships..

    • Kevin S. - Dec 8, 2013 at 8:46 PM

      I am shocked, SHOCKED to discover that you completely missed the hypocrisy there. #notshocked

    • southofheaven81 - Dec 8, 2013 at 8:53 PM

      Well he has at least one.

    • hittfamily - Dec 8, 2013 at 9:03 PM

      Barry Gibb is from Australia. You tell by the way he walks.

  12. km9000 - Dec 8, 2013 at 9:12 PM

    The whole “Yankee tradition!” thing doesn’t mean as much to most players as it does to the fans and media.

  13. slaugin - Dec 8, 2013 at 9:12 PM

    This is the same guy that told Cliff Lee to get as much money as you can once you become a Free Agent

  14. titknocker - Dec 8, 2013 at 9:17 PM

    And Carsten Charles would know exactly what it means to play his entire career in NYC….Except for that time he played in Cleveland……Oh yeah, Milwaukee too!!

    • gloccamorra - Dec 9, 2013 at 12:36 AM

      Come on – he was drafted by Cleveland, and traded to Milwaukee.

  15. jolink653 - Dec 8, 2013 at 9:53 PM

    The opt-out clause was put into the contract because CC initially wasn’t sure if he was gonna like living in New York since he’s from California, so the Yankees threw that in in case he didn’t like the city and wanted to go somewhere else.

    The people saying he just came here for the money might be right in that it was probably the initial reason, but he has embraced the Yankee tradition and enjoys being a Yankee now, apparently so much that he can’t understand anyone wanting to leave. And you can’t blame him for posturing to get the extra money/years added to the back end of his deal to make sure he’s getting as much security as possible.

    • nyyanks15 - Dec 8, 2013 at 9:56 PM

      Agreed. Sing it !! Someone who knows what he’s talking about.

    • thebadguyswon - Dec 8, 2013 at 10:01 PM

      It’s not the Yankee Tradition….it’s the money.

    • hittfamily - Dec 8, 2013 at 10:42 PM

      So why not just wave the opt out clause then? I really don’t see how a guy who banks 250 mil from a company can then crap on someone else for making the exact same decision he did, which was to follow the money.

    • deedee2die4 - Dec 9, 2013 at 9:03 AM

      The Yankee tradition? Is that the STDs carried by Ruth? The 3 livers of Mickey Mantle? The felon Steinkbreeder and his thugs following Winfield? Torre looking the other way as a slew of players on his team made a mockery of the legacy of MLB?

      • 18thstreet - Dec 9, 2013 at 9:41 AM

        History is a complicated thing.

  16. nyyanks15 - Dec 8, 2013 at 9:54 PM

    First, get your facts straight. Cashman was the one who put an opt out clause in case Sabbathia wasn’t
    happy being a Yankee. Second, he opted out basically for an extention so he could end
    his career a Yankee. I’m sure once you put that uni on, you won’t want another. Cano’s a slacker with
    so much talent. He could be so much more, if he gave more to the game. Good
    riddance to him. Seattle is a MLB players graveyard. He will not excel with that dysfunctional
    team. Stop hating CC. He just spoke his mind. Kinda what we’re doing. Relax

    • Uncle Charlie - Dec 8, 2013 at 10:22 PM

      The Yankees don’t know anything about dysfunctional FO’s.
      *rolls eyes*

  17. President Charles Logan - Dec 8, 2013 at 9:55 PM

    ok enough about this guy already and these two teams that obviously arent serious playoff contenders

  18. pastabelly - Dec 8, 2013 at 10:07 PM

    Yankee for life only means that they WERE never willing to let another team outbid them for any of their players. Well, the Yankees learned how every other franchise lives in MLB. Don’t fall in love with your veterans to the point where you give ridiculous contracts. The Yankees actually did the right thing here. As a Sox fan, I hope this was a one time thing, but the Ellsbury signing is still a head scratcher.

  19. tuucamaron - Dec 8, 2013 at 11:57 PM

    good luck finding platanos in Seattle,

  20. aceshigh11 - Dec 9, 2013 at 12:58 AM

    Boy, oh boy…the bitterness is really flying fast and furious now.

    So much for the Yankees being a buttoned-up, locked-down, drama-free corporate-type entity.

  21. thepoolshark - Dec 9, 2013 at 2:45 AM

    I used to work in the oil business in the US. In 1981 I got offered the same job working in Nigeria for 4x the money.

    I took it, but lived to regret it. Money can’t buy happiness, and looking back at the 2 years I spent there, I had to be out of my mind. A police state with machine guns at every intersection, and guards holding those guns who would use them if you didn’t give them $10 to let you pass. You paid, or you died, simple as that.

    That big money is all gone, but the nightmares remain. It remains to be seen if he is happy and motivated in Seattle. He may be the M’s Savior, or he may be the Angels Pujols and/or Hamilton.

    If I was a betting man I would say his numbers drop off dramatically, the fans turn on him, and the M’s trade him and eat 10-15 MM/year to get rid of him.

    But I went to Nigeria, so I have been wrong before. Hope springs eternal in Mudville, and for the fans sake in Seattle I hope I’m wrong. Like Pittsburg fans they have suffered for years, and though I am not a Mariners fan, or Pirates, it was good seeing the Pirates get to the Playoffs. Maybe Cano will play like Junior did and revive fan interest. King Felix deserves some support, and hopefully Cano can spark the offense.

    Now if he would only hustle down the line a little…..

    • Kevin S. - Dec 9, 2013 at 6:43 AM

      Yes, Seattle is exactly like Nigeria.

  22. darealdeuceswild22 - Dec 9, 2013 at 4:24 AM

    C’mon people. CC went for the dough just like Cano. CC you’re full of it… Once Jeter goes there will officially be no “real” Yankees left… What a “real” Yankee anyways? It’s absurd.

  23. deedee2die4 - Dec 9, 2013 at 7:50 AM

    Can has his ring, has had the pinstripe experience. Now he has the opportunity to play and live in a city where he wants his family to live. All the money and no more of of the Trump NYC bee ess and no more Felon Steinkbreeder legacy.

    • anxovies - Dec 9, 2013 at 10:21 AM

      Yeah. Cano’s move to Seattle was all about family values. That’s why he hired a gangster rapper as his agent and won’t pay child support for his kid in the Dominican Republic.

  24. pastabelly - Dec 9, 2013 at 8:53 AM

    CC got the same deal in NY that Cano got with the Mariners, but one year less. He’s winding up with nine years at around $24 million per year. If the Yankees had made Cano the same offer, he would never have left. Ellsbury going to the Yankees doesn’t bother me. I hope he’s honest about it. He signed with Boras several years ago hoping to maximize his value in free agency. Who knows? Maybe he’ll say that he always dreamed of putting on the pinstripes.

    • Kevin S. - Dec 9, 2013 at 8:59 AM

      8 years, $191 million actually.

      • Kevin S. - Dec 9, 2013 at 9:02 AM

        Forgot about the vesting option that only fails to vest in the case of shoulder troubles. That takes it to 9 years, $211 million from the Yanks. Yeah, that deal might have gotten it done.

  25. mundial8 - Dec 9, 2013 at 9:52 AM

    Reading these comments from CC makes me wonder:..

    If he wasn’t traded to MIL from CLE, would he have stayed and given the hometown discount? Just to stay with one team his whole career?

    • anxovies - Dec 9, 2013 at 10:24 AM

      Nobody stays in Cleveland if they have an avenue of escape.

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