C.C. Sabathia has agreed to a precedent-setting contract that will keep him in pinstripes and off of the free agent market. The 31-year-old left-hander announced on his Twitter account and on Zoodig.com that he has agreed to a new deal with the Yankees.
He could have opted out of the remaining four years and $92MM of his original seven-year, $161MM contract with New York by midnight tonight. Instead, he gets a deal that guarantees him $122MM and could be worth as much as $142MM. Sabathia will earn $24.4MM per season over the course of the five guaranteed seasons — slightly more than his former teammate, Cliff Lee, obtained last offseason and more than any other pitcher has obtained on a multiyear deal. Sabathia's original contract is still the largest guaranteed total for any pitcher in history.
“CC is the ace of our pitching staff, a leader in our clubhouse and a driving force for the Yankees in our community,” Yankees GM Brian Cashman said. “He is exactly the type player and person that Yankees fans and this organization can be proud of.”
The sides agreed to add a $25MM salary for 2016 and a vesting option worth the same amount for 2017 ($5MM buyout), according to ESPN's Buster Olney (via Twitter) and Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter). The option automatically vests unless Sabathia finishes the 2016 season on the DL with a left shoulder injury, spends 45 days on the DL with a left shoulder injury, or makes at least six relief appearances in 2016 due to shoulder problems, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post (all Twitter links).
The Yankees originally offered Sabathia a five-year contract worth $120.5MM according to Sherman (on Twitter), but the team increased their offer today to prevent their ace from opting out and hitting the open market. Olney reports (on Twitter) that the two sides are still awaiting contract language approval.
Though Cashman's offseason became much simpler tonight, it's by no means complete. The Yankees will likely explore deals for pitching and look to solidify their bullpen and bench.