The Yankee’s CC Conundrum

Big news from

“CC Sabathia is planning to opt out of his contract by Monday night’s deadline, according to’s Jon Heyman.

Sabathia will forgo the remaining four years and $92 million left on his contract and hit free agency. Andrew Marchand of ESPN New York estimated last week that Sabathia will want a six-year deal in the $150 million range. Such a deal would surpass Cliff Lee for the highest average annual value ($24 million) for a pitcher. Lee was offered $148 million over seven years by New York last winter and Sabathia is two years younger today than Lee was then. Opinions around baseball are pretty unanimous that Sabathia will remain a Yankee.”

This is bad, but not totally unexpected news for the Yankees. Sabathia, who is 31 years old and according to Y! Sports weighs in at 290 lbs, wants about what the Yankees had offered Cliff Lee. The situation is a bit different now though. Cliff Lee would have joined a team primed to win another World Series title. CC Will rejoin a team with a lot of senior players and a few ugly contracts that would strangle any other team (Rodriguez, Burnett, Jeter). Rivera will probably be gone after 2012, making a World Series run all the less likely. Cano will be in for a huge pay day after the 2013 season, and the Yankees need to be certain they’ll have the resources to bring back the best 2B in baseball (yes, he’s clearly better than Dustin Pedroia).

The Yankees also just picked up the 2012 option on Nick Swisher, and will be paying him $10.5 million next season. Like Swisher, CC didn’t have himself a very impressive 2011 postseason — although some may be because of poor umpiring.

All that said, behind CC the Yankees rotation boasts Nova, Hughes, Burnett, Betances, Garcia, and Colon. No real #1 or even #2 starters in that bunch (Although Nova is promising, and I’m not ready to give up on Hughes quite yet). The free agent market for starting pitchers is pretty shallow this year. Mark Buehrle, Edwin Jackson, and CJ Wilson headline this year’s free agent class. Jon Garland is out there and could “pull a Bartolo” in 2012, and Oswalt might be a free agent depending on what Phillie does with his contract.  So the Yankees are somewhat stuck without another ace on the market. Do they Pay big bucks and potentially mortgage the team’s future, or start 2012 with one of the absolute worst rotation’s in the AL.

Here’s my thought. He wants six years. That would take the behemoth past his 37th birthday. I’m not so sure that’s the wisest move in the world. The Yankees brought him to New York with cash (remember he wanted to play in the Bay area, but we blew their offers out of the water). To keep in in New York we’ll need plenty more. AJ Burnett’s $82.5 million contract and Jeter’s $51 million contract will expire after the 2013 season, freeing up payroll for Cano. Sabathia was great in the 2009 postseason when we won the World Series, he’s averaging nearly 20 wins a season and hasn’t posted an ERA over 3.37 since joining the team. He’s been great for us thus far. It’s worth noting though, his BAA has increased each of the last four years. Frankly that’s very alarming.

So, knowing only what I know (I assume and hope Cashman knows a lot more) it seems like an extra year and a modest pay raise may be in order, but too much more than the 5 years, $120 million Cliff Lee received from Philadelphia might be over the top. I think the Yankees will find a way to bring him back, but I fear they’ll hamstring themselves with an injury prone third baseman who they have to pay $31 million a year and a 35 year old 300 lb starting pitcher making $26 million annually.

I think and hope they can work out a win-win deal. What do you think?

Ohh, and by the way. Imagine if the Yankees didn’t resign Jeter last year and could add Jose Reyes this year…

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3 thoughts on “The Yankee’s CC Conundrum

  1. Yeah, that’s big for us. I hope you resign Paps and Ortiz too. I don’t think Ortiz is much of a ball player. He wouldn’t be in baseball if not for steroids and he’s getting old. not sure how long he has left.

    I think Oswalt could become available and would be a steal. I’d love to sign Mark Buehrle as well. We need 1 more F/A pitcher and if we can somehow move AJ we could sign two!

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