George King in the New York Post reports that New York Yankees’ executives have convened in Tampa to put together a plan of action that will keep C.C. Sabathia in their team’s starting rotation. The large left handed starter has three days after the conclusion of the World Series to opt out of his current contract and leave $92 million over four years on the table as he searches for something bigger.
It’s a given that he’ll opt out, but there’s only slightly less certainty that he’ll stay in New York. So, what would it take for the Yankees take advantage of their short window of opportunity before Sabathia hits the open market?
The Yankees are believed to be OK with a five- or six-year deal for an obvious raise over his current $23 million a year. Yet seven or eight years is something they want to avoid because of age, workload, and Sabathia gaining weight across the second half of last season.
Joe Pawlikowski of the indispensable Yankees blog River Avenue Blues delves a bit deeper into the speculation, suggesting that the Yankees will put together an offer that will make Sabathia the highest paid pitcher (annual value) in baseball.
Six years at $24 million per season totals $144 million, which exceeds the offer the Yankees made for Cliff Lee last offseason. That’s fair, given how much Sabathia has contributed to the Yankees in the last three years. They can even bump that up to $145 million, thereby exceeding Lee’s record $24 million annual salary. A five-year deal would certainly have to come in at around $125 million, and would include at least one option.
While both suggestions seem reasonable, we couldn’t bring you a report on the Yankees without at least a little bit of the unreasonable. This, from a commenter at RAB:
If Sabathia declines the deal and opts out anyway then I would rescind this offer and publicly announce that we are not going to re-sign him. That will drive down his price and he probably won’t get more than what we offered.
It appears as though someone has been taking courses at the Jim Bowden School Of General Managment.
Even with the Yankees completely shooting themselves in the foot and deciding to “drive down his price,” it’s difficult to imagine the baseball season beginning in 2012 with Sabathia not making more money in a single season than any pitcher ever has before.