CC Says Y-E-S to NY

Jeez, you take two hours to write up a legal brief, and the whole world goes and gets itself in a hurry:

CC Sabathia is not going to play on the West Coast. He is not going to play in the National League. CC Sabathia is going to be a Yankee, The Post has learned exclusively.

After three straight days of face-to-face meetings between GM Brian Cashman and Sabathia, the big lefty decided he wants to spend the next six years of his career as a Yankee. The decision came late last night after Cashman flew to see Sabathia at his home in San Francisco. By the time the meeting was concluded, Sabathia had informed the Yankees that he had made his decision to call New York his baseball home, the Post has learned.

There are still minor hurdles to finalize, notably that Sabathia must pass a physical. But after so much belief that Sabathia was stalling because he wanted to avoid New York, he agreed to the largest pitching contract in major league history, at least $140 million.

Robo is saying that it’s seven years and upwards of $160M. That’ll buy a lot of hours on a fractionally-owned executive jet for Mrs. Sabathia to go back and forth from her California home.

I guess I’m sort of deflated. Not because the Yankees got him per se — it’s been years since the prospect of the Yankees buying players made me despair about the competitive balance of baseball — but because no one else did. Sabathia the Brewer, Sabathia the Giant, Sabathia the Angel, or Sabathia the Dodger would have at least been interesting. With Sabathia the Yankee, the stories for 2009 can practically be pre-written.

If CC starts slow like he did last year, there will be exaggerated shock and worry. If he carries the team down the stretch like he did the Brewers last season, there will be exaggerated awe and hero-making. If he pitches well yet the Yankees still falter because of the offense — which I feel is the most likely scenario — people will wonder why the Yankees were so hot for CC in the first place instead of going after Texeira or something.

In other words, despite the tens of thousands of words people will write about this signing in the coming days, it stands to be the most boring transaction of the year.

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  1. MooseinOhio said...

    If I am a NY taxpayer I am calling Bloomberg to tell him no more bonds to finish building the Yankees new home as they apparently have enough cheese to build it themselves. 

    Can’t fault CC for taking the money but it may be a difficult pill for some folks to accept as they struggle to make ends meet.  This is not just an issue for athletes as many Wall Street folks get paid significantly more but it certainly make it hard for the everyday person to accept when they fear losing their homes, IRAs are half of what they used to be and pink slips are looming over their paychecks.

  2. Pete Toms said...

    CC is worth more in NYC than in any other market.  Because, there is more competition for the entertainment dollar in NYC than in any other market.  The Yankees were always the frontrunner, all the speculation was driven by need for media content and bored bloggers.

  3. Jason @ IIATMS said...

    Cognitive dissonance for me, today.  Thrilled but aghast at the dollars layered on top of, as Moose noted, the request for more bonds to finish the stadium.

  4. Craig Calcaterra said...

    Pete: to be fair, it was also based on the fact that everyone close to CC—his wife included—said that, all things being equal, he’d rather play elsewhere.

  5. Jeff J. Snider said...

    As a Dodger fan, I am actually pretty happy about this.  I would have been ecstatic about a 4-year, $70 million contract with the Dodgers, but since that was never going to happen, I would much rather have him with the Yankees than with the Giants or the Angels.  With the Yankees, the Dodgers won’t run the risk of facing Sabathia until the World Series, and based on both the Dodgers’ and Sabathia’s recent postseason records, I’m willing to take that chance.

  6. lar said...

    Those were my thoughts pretty much exactly, Craig. Sure, we know by now that, even if the Yanks buy the best players available in the offseason, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’ve won the World Series. (I remember how down I was that they had landed Giambi… that didn’t quite turn out as we all thought it would) So it’s not that fact that bums me out this morning.

    It’s just that the league would’ve been so much more interesting with CC elsewhere. I didn’t realistically believe that he would come back here to Milwaukee, but it was nice to entertain the notion. But even seeing him in the Giants’ black and orange or, more exciting to me, Dodger blue would’ve been better. Not only might it have helped change the NL West, but it would’ve made us (or the media) focus on CC the player and what CC the player can do for his team. Instead, we get CC the Yankee, and that’s a whole other beast.

    Plus, it would’ve been nice to see CC take the hill at Miller Park one more time, but that’s pretty unlikely, eh?


  7. Andrew in Rochester said...

    I’m bummed, too.  I can’t really put my finger on the reason, though.  It was pretty much a fait accompli that Sabathia would be a Yankee as soon as you realized that Sabathia was going to be a free agent.  Just like it is with whoever the big free agent is next year, or last year, or any other year.

    So I’m not bummed because the Yankees got their man – in fact as long as they stay away from Mark Teixeria I’m pretty happy.  Maybe it is starting to feel a little cookie cutter: big free agent goes to Yankees.  They succeed, he’s a True Yankee forever.  They fail, he’s a fat pussy toad, and people get fired.

    I dunno.  I don’t know if it’s a more boring reality when the Yankees buy the best pitcher(s) in an offseason…but it’s a little disheartening I guess.  I don’t know why.

  8. Jeff J. Snider said...

    “Maybe it is starting to feel a little cookie cutter: big free agent goes to Yankees.”

    Free agents the Yankees have signed in the past several years:

    2007: LaTroy Hawkins, Heath Phillips, Chris Woodward.

    2006: Kai Igawa, Doug Mientkiewicz, Jeff Nelson, Andy Pettitte, Todd Pratt.

    2005: Johnny Damon

    2004: Doug Glanville, Damian Rolls, Tony Womack.

    2003: Joe Girardi, Tyler Houston.

    You have to go back to 2002, when the Yankees signed Hideki Matsui and Jose Contreras, to say the Yanks got anything close to the best free agents available—and even then, they didn’t sign Tom Glavine or Jim Thome or Jeff Kent or any of the other guys who may have been as good or better.

    It’s easy and popular to say the Yankees get everyone, but the list of guys they didn’t get is much longer than the list of guys they did get.  (And the list of guys they overpaid to get and later regretted it [or should have] is pretty long, too.)

  9. Michael said...

    Let’s not forget that CC’s arm will fall of by the time he can opt out of his clause, and the Yankees will end up stuck with him.

  10. MooseinOhio said...

    The uber-wealthy teams such as the Yanks, Red Sox and Mets play in a different world than the rest and while the disparity has always existed it seems more magnified in recent years.  CC with the Dodgers or Giants would have been awesome to see and great for baseball as it could have brought a level of interest into the game broader than just the AL East.  I would have loved to have watched CC bat just as I enjoy watching Micah Owing bat and would have looked forward to highlights of NL West games as a result – now I may catch them if I am interested but not as likely.

  11. Pete Toms said...

    Great Yankee teams are good for everybody, fans, owners, players.  Don’t underestimate the pleasure of hating.  If the Yankees were ” just like everybody else ” where would the fun be in that?

    Wanna express your displeasure with tax breaks for the Yanks ( tax breaks that practically every other owner in the league received years ago, but relatively few notice until it happens in NYC but I digress ) and their grotesque payroll?  Don’t watch them on TV, don’t go see them when they visit your home town….but that’s no fun, is it?  More fun to go and boo the villian.

  12. pete said...

    Awesome: he’s got an opt-out clause after 3 years and $69M of the deal.

    I like to see players get their money, especially guys like CC, so I’m glad he got every last penny and that he’s got the Yankees over a barrel. If he pitches like he has, he opts out and gets more. If he stinks or gets hurt, they’re still on the hook for 4 years and $92M.

    I hate the Yankees, but honestly the worst thing about this is that we’ll have to hear ridiculous, lazy sportswriters call out CC when he doesn’t go 35-0 with a 0.00 ERA. All they need to do is pull out the “Choke-Rod” articles and replace a few words.

  13. glenn said...

    They need a lot more than CC to keep up with their division.  If he’s the only one they get, they aren’t going anywhere next year.

  14. APBA Guy said...

    Pete Toms is right. You have to have a King of the Hill to set a target to compete against. The fact that Yankee money makes it easier for the team to remain that target really benefits the league as a whole. Remember when the Yankees signed Catfish Hunter and Reggie Jackson? Those $ 100k per year deals were going to ruin baseball, according to Charley Finley and many sportswriters.

    What those signings did was preserve the Yankees as the team to beat (or hate), and heighten interest in a game that at the time was rapidly losing interest to football and basketball.

    And of course, loudmouth Yankee ownership just adds a liitle gas to the competitive bonfire.

    Frankly, I was a little surprised they didn’t do more to go after Santana last year but they needed to have some big money contracts come off the books. I don’t think the Yankees are done spending, either. They do need more offense and more bullpen and at least one more starter, if not 2.

  15. TLA said...

    Opt-out clause.  What were they thinking?  If you are giving the guy 7 yrs and $160M, there’s no need to give him an opt-out.  And if you’re going to give an opt-out, if you’re paying that much, at least make it mutual.

  16. Daniel said...

    Jeff, don’t forget that A-Rod technically opted out of his contract, making him a free agent.  There was no other team that could have realistically afforded to give him the contract he got, even though people were talking about him possibly signing with the Angels or Dodgers.

  17. Jeff J. Snider said...

    Yeah, I deliberately didn’t list free agents who they re-signed (which also includes Rivera, Posada, and Pettitte last year, etc.).  I meant to mention that.  I think those are different from regular free agents, and the really don’t apply to the Sabathia situation, so I left them out.

  18. rob said...

    @Jeff – It’s misleading to leave out the re-signed players.  The Yankees don’t have a $200M payroll on the basis of signing Kei Igawa and LaTroy Hawkins.  Had players like Rivera, Jeter, or Posada (and don’t forget Clemens either), been free agents from other teams, the Yankees would have likely paid them just as much to get them in pinstripes.  It’s also misleading because the Yankees have had a habit of trading for guys whom they later re-sign (e.g., Rodriguez).

    You also neglected to mention “Big Game” Carl Pavano.

    A better list would be the “big name” free agents that *didn’t* sign with the Yankees.

  19. pete said...

    The big deal with the opt-out is that it gives CC leverage to ask for the equivalent of a 3-4 year, $75-100M extension 3 years into the contract, which really puts the Yankees in a bad spot. They’d be choosing between letting a guy on a clear path to the HOF walk or taking on an enormous risk by having a guy with 11 major league seasons and 2200 innings on his arm a 7-8 year/$175-200M contract.

    This is a really, really valuable opt-out for CC.

  20. Bryan McGouran said...

    This is not really relevant, but I love that the Post article says that there are still “hurdles to finalize.”  I didn’t know that you could finalize a hurdle.

  21. Jeff J. Snider said...

    “Had players like Rivera, Jeter, or Posada (and don’t forget Clemens either), been free agents from other teams, the Yankees would have likely paid them just as much to get them in pinstripes.”

    It’s tough to tell what the Yankees “likely” would have done; it seems our best evidence would be what they actually DID do, which was NOT sign very many big name free agents away from other teams over the past several years.

  22. Aaron said...

    I don’t see the opt-out as being so bad. If Sabathia wants to leave after 3 years, well, the last years of the contract would be the ones the saber-set is most afraid of. If he stays, then you get the contract like you wanted. Think the Dodgers didn’t dodge a bullet on JD Drew?

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