By Sweeny Murti
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Is CC really going to pull an A-Rod? Maybe. Even if he does, I’m almost positive he won’t announce it during a World Series game.
CC Sabathia, relatively slimmer and trimmer at 290 pounds, chose not to douse the flames, but rather he fanned them, refusing to discard the possibility that he will opt out from the final four years of his 7-year, $161 million dollar contract signed in December 2008.
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So…no Cliff Lee, no Andy Pettitte, and coming this fall to a back page near you…no CC? Well, slow down I wouldn’t bet on it. But I do think the opt-out is conveniently placed to get him an even richer deal than the one he signed.
First off, let’s listen to Sabathia Monday morning as he discussed the potential opt-out in vague yet calculated terms…
Sabathia appears to be playing this just the way his agent wants it to be played. There are four years and $92 million left on his deal after this season. But who’s more likely to land $20+ million a year, a 31-year-old pitcher or a 35-year-old pitcher? Sabathia can essentially get himself a big money extension by opting out, and the Yankees don’t hold a lot of leverage with the state of their rotation as is.
That Sabathia opts out of his contract after this season appears to be a near certainty. But his chances of remaining a Yankee are just as good, it just will cost them a whole lot more money. Money that they conveniently didn’t get to spend on Cliff Lee.
Also of note today was Sabathia’s slimmer frame. Slimmer being a relative term to a guy that checked in over 300 pounds the last few years. Sabathia says he checked in 25 pounds lighter at a svelte 290, the number that’s been on the back of his baseball card for years now. Listen here:
Did you hear Sabathia say he wants to pitch another 8 to 10 years? To me that’s another signal he will opt out for a longer deal after this season. The Yankees won’t sign him for 8 to 10 years, but they might have to go 6 or 7 in order to keep him. Again, it’s not a bad play for Sabathia because odds are he wouldn’t get $20 million per year as a free agent at age 35. But he might get that as a free agent at age 31.
In theory Sabathia could cash in his 3-year, $69 million deal with the Yankees and then tack on that 6-year, $140 million offer the Yanks were going to give Cliff Lee.
Brian Cashman is the one who gave Sabathia this opt-out clause in December 2008. Listen here as Cashman discusses Sabathia’s stance regarding the clause and the context surrounding the inclusion of that clause in the first place:
Cashman is rather of matter of fact discussing this issue. He knows it was coming and he also knows there’s nothing he’s going to do about it right now. If anything he hopes an impending opt-out spurs Sabathia on to even greater heights. Remember, the best seasons Alex Rodriguez and AJ Burnett ever had were in years they had opt-outs coming up.
So while you’re hoping that Sabathia can be even better this year on a pitching staff that is quite top-heavy, just beware that every win probably means more money in CC’s pocket.
Will he opt out or no? What should the Yankees do? Sound off below…