NEW YORK (WFAN/AP) — New York Yankees ace CC Sabathia is not concerned a provision in his seven-year contract that gives him the ability to opt out after this season will become a distraction.
Sabathia, who went 21-7 with a 3.18 ERA in 34 starts last year, said Monday he still felt as though the clause wouldn’t be used. The left-hander added that it was probably the last time he would address the situation.
“I don’t want to talk about that all year,” Sabathia said. “I’m here to try and help this team win. I went through it with the free-agency thing. It’s not going to distract me at all.”
Yankees co-chairman Hank Steinbrenner doesn’t think Sabathia will opt out.
“I think he’s happy here, and now he really knows what it’s like to be a Yankee,” Steinbrenner said. “Had another excellent year last year. I think he’s here to stay.”
Steinbrenner also feels Sabathia won’t use the clause to seek an extension or additional money.
“Once you’ve become a Yankee and you’ve won as a Yankee, it’s a little difficult to go anywhere else, I would assume,” Steinbrenner said. “We’re going to be in every year … every single year. You can’t say that about any other team, except maybe the Red Sox, but they weren’t in it last year. And the Phillies are keeping it going, but how long will that last?
“So, we’re the only team you can be assured, as long as we own them, are going to be in it every single year,” Steinbrenner added. “We’re going to be a major contender to win the championship every year.”
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman joined WFAN’s Evan Roberts briefly on Monday to address Sabathia’s contract situation.
“He’s earned an opportunity to at least, you know, be vague about what the future’s gonna bring,” Cashman told Roberts. “I think personally, he loves it here. Professionally, he’s got an opportunity to at least evaluate whatever options come his way, and that’s all for another day.”
LISTEN: Brian Cashman details Sabathia’s opt-out clause
Sabathia said late last season that he would not exercise the clause. If he does opt out he will leave a staggering amount, four years and $92 million, on the table.
Pitchers and catchers officially reported to camp on Monday.
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The Yankees have two open rotation spots behind CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and Phil Hughes. The trio of returning starters are being counted on to help pick up the slack following the offseason retirement of Andy Pettitte.
Ivan Nova, Sergio Mitre, Freddy Garcia and Bartolo Colon are among the rotation candidates.
Will CC opt out after 2011? Do you agree with WFAN’s Evan Roberts that Sabathia’s quotes are “just a negotiation ploy”? Sound off in the comments below!
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