C.C. Sabathia Signing Reactions

Last night the Yankees completed a contract extension with ace C.C. Sabathia, adding one guaranteed year and an additional $30MM and preventing him from opting out and reaching the open market.  The new total is $122MM over five guaranteed years, with the $24.4MM average annual value representing a record for a pitcher.  If Sabathia avoids a shoulder injury in 2016, a 2017 option will vest and the total will become $147MM over six years.

As with Cliff Lee and the Phillies last year, it's hard to call a record-setting contract a discount.  However, I believe Sabathia would have landed six guaranteed years in that same $147MM range, at minimum, on the open market.  A seventh guaranteed year wouldn't have been out of the question.  It's a huge contract, but Sabathia took significantly less guaranteed money to stay in New York.  On to today's C.C.-related links…

  • "It was an easy choice" to stay with the Yankees, Sabathia told reporters.  Avoiding free agency was a big motivation for him.
  • The Yankees can now "shop in comfort rather than desperation," writes Joel Sherman of the New York Post.  Sherman still expects the Yankees to bid for the right to negotiate with Yu Darvish, if the righty is posted.  He also thinks the team will explore the trade market for another left-handed starter.
  • Yesterday "wasn't a great day for Yankees fans," writes Ken Davidoff of Newsday, but "it could've been much worse."
  • "The number of elite pitchers who excel throughout their 30s should make us accepting of the deal," writes Benjamin Kabak of River Ave. Blues.


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43 Comments on "C.C. Sabathia Signing Reactions"


Devern Hansack
3 years 9 months ago

CC definitely would have topped that on the open market. Though I’m a bit leery of his ability to hold up for another five years, he will be well worth the money for, at the very least, another three seasons.

stl_cards16
3 years 9 months ago

The Yankees had to have him back.  It was a great move to get this done and it wasn’t really at the cost most people thought it would take.

MG83
3 years 9 months ago

As a Yankees fan I have to say Ken Davidoff is wrong. We got who we needed back in pinstripes without a media circus.

Guest
3 years 9 months ago

I have absolutely no idea what Davidoff is referring too. The Yankees retained their #1 for 5 years – through his prime up to age 36 (hardly something that should be questioned) and we retained a highly capable and well regarded GM. All this done without the circus, double talking, and frankly without overspending for anything. I think it was a masterful day for fans and it just goes to show the control, balance and professionalism of the Yankee organization and their players (CC). I think he was just stirring the pot.  

oz10
3 years 9 months ago

I guess you are just deciding to forget about how they handled Jeter last year. Very professional.

Guest
3 years 9 months ago

I don’t follow? How they handled Jeter? They handled the Jeter situation just fine. That was more Jeter then Yankees and I don’t expect many people to acknowledge that. I still respect Jeter a great deal and have no issue with what transpired last off season. 

0bsessions
3 years 9 months ago

They handled Jeter exactly the way I would have, but to say they exhibited professionalism is baseless. Hank Steinbrenner threw him right under the bus before negotiations began (The infamous mansion remark) and Cashman was extremely candid and in some points very disrespectful during negotiations (Letting figure out, saying he didn’t expect Jeter to stick at short, etc).

johnsilver
3 years 9 months ago

Steinbrenner’s always expect a caravan to be following them whenever they move around and if one is not at the time, they will create it.

I think George kept Billy Martin around so long just because he would keep HIM in the press.

David Wear
3 years 9 months ago

They handled Jeter the only way you could handle Jeter. I have tremendous respect for Jeter, but he is in the decline of his career and was expecting money as if he was in his youth. They Yanks first offer to him was very generous, and Cashman knew it and said so. Jeter would have never gotten near that on the open market.

If you want to talk about Yanks handling things poorly, let go back to Bernie Williams and Joe Torre….

oz10
3 years 9 months ago

Really? This is from last year:

“But it has not worked out that way, and Cashman has decided to make his point of view public. On Monday, Cashman said in an interview with The New York Times that the team had “concerns” with both Jeter’s age and his recent on-field performance and that both needed to be factored into any new, increasingly elusive contract with the 36-year-old team captain.” (I can find more if you want me to)

The steinbrenners also came out and publicly talked about the lack of focus stating something to the regard that players were too busy building houses (Jeter). Real professional to take contract talks to the media with the face of the franchise.

This one just worked out because all they had to do was add a year to the contract with another incentive year. Not a huge price to pay in Yankee dollars. I am pretty sure that had this drug on they would start talking publicly about how he is overweight and the such.

Guest
3 years 9 months ago

“that the team had “concerns” with both Jeter’s age and his recent on-field performance and that both needed to be factored into any new, increasingly elusive contract with the 36-year-old team captain” 

It’s called evaluating your assets and entirely appropriate to convey those points. So now you’re saying (at a time when the narrative is the Yankee’s spend too much) that they should have just handed a blank check and looked like a bunch or reckless drunks? 

“I am pretty sure that had this drug on they would start talking publicly about how he is overweight and the such.” 

But it didn’t so I don’t follow your point. 

You do realize that Jeter is perhaps the face of modern baseball. The guy is superstar beyond comprehension and recognized as far as ET’s home on Vega. It’s hard to quantify value in moments like those. There was really no modern day precedent for how to sign an aging superstar. Cashman nor the Steinbrenners said nothing that was inappropriate. Yeah, I remember Hank saying something about Jeter’s mansion, which lasted about a second in the paper, but that’s a little better than hearing your owner say (I never wanted him ala Crawford). 

oz10
3 years 9 months ago

Evaluate your assets behind closed doors. You don’t bring it public especially with somebody like Jeter who is the modern day Mr. Yankee. I am not a Yankee fan but Jeter is one of my all time favorite players. He took the high road last year, not the Yanks.

oz10
3 years 9 months ago

And let’s just end this and agree to disagree. You have your point, I have mine and I doubt you are going to sway me to your thinking and vice versa.

I do agree that it is a good deal for both parties as far as CC is concerned.

0bsessions
3 years 9 months ago

“It’s called evaluating your assets and entirely appropriate to convey those points. So now you’re saying (at a time when the narrative is the Yankee’s spend too much) that they should have just handed a blank check and looked like a bunch or reckless drunks? ”

No, what he’s saying was that there was absolutely no good reason for Cashman to go to the media with it. Cashman’s a shrewd GM, but he’s had a bad case of talkstoomuchitis the last couple of offseasons. Those were entirely valid concerns to convey to Jeter and his agent behind closed doors, but it’s hard to argue the organization as a classy, professionally run machine when one of the owners and their GM are throwing players under the buss in the middle of negotiations. There’s a lot less difference between what’s going on with the Sox now and what went on with the Yankees last year than some people seem to want to admit.

” Yeah, I remember Hank saying something about Jeter’s mansion, which lasted about a second in the paper, but that’s a little better than hearing your owner say (I never wanted him ala Crawford).”

How would you rank it compared to your hearing your GM saying he wanted nothing to do with you? Henry admitted that despite his reluctance to sign Crawford he was still the one who signed off on it and he admitted he has a GM because he’s not the guy to make baseball decisions. He basically said “I was against it, but what do I know about running baseball operations?” Comparatively, Cashman, a guy who’s paid to know baseball, immediately threw one of his team’s acquisitions under the bus last year saying he thought it was a bad move.

oz10
3 years 9 months ago

“Sometimes you celebrate too much, players concentrating on building mansions and not concentrating on winning,” Steinbrenner said in a hallway following yesterday’s workout.

definition of professionalism right there. And this was after he signed the contract.

oz10
3 years 9 months ago

I guess you are just deciding to forget about how they handled Jeter last year. Very professional.

0bsessions
3 years 9 months ago

That’s the true benefit of this move. I imagine anyone treating this like a discount or a good deal of any fashion are kidding themselves. That said, it’s the Yankees and it’s just money for them. The important part is that they’ve addressed their biggest offseason issue and can now get to plugging the remaining holes in their rotation.

Guest
3 years 9 months ago

It’s a good deal for five guaranteed years at $122mm. Less than what Werth and Crawford are signed for and Werth contributes little to the team. Crawford is redundant on the Red Sox. While neither have nothing to do with the other, once put into perspective you realize the Yankees really got themselves a sweet deal for a major contributor. CC is easily a top 10 pitcher in the league, takes the mound every 5 days, is still young, shown he is very durable, and is a lefty. $22mm more guaranteed than the rumored posting fee and contract of Darvish, an unknown to American Baseball. $22mm more than the rumored price it will take to sign Wilson (which two years and 350 innings ago he was reliever) so I am confused by your comment saying it wasn’t a good deal. I stated  yesterday that Wilson is probably only a $62mm-$68mm pitcher for 4 years at best and you challenged that saying he’s either worth or will get substantially more. So you’re contradicting yourself in saying CC wasn’t a good deal and then saying that Wilson will get $100mm which is only $22mm less. Peanuts in baseball and peanut shells for the Yanks.

0bsessions
3 years 9 months ago

The problem here is that you’re pulling points from multiple posts and only getting half the picture of my opinion. here goes:

I said the Rangers stated they’re willing to go as high as $100 million on a pitcher, including Wilson, not that they would offer him that much. I imagine Wilson will probably come in at a deal along the lines of Lackey/Burnett, five years at just south of $90 mill. I’m of the mind that Wilson will wind up with either the Yankees or Rangers, whichever one gets closest to that figure or tops it.
From the same point, while it’s been noted the Rangers would offer Sabathia a contract, I don’t think they would’ve realistically exceeded $115/120MM and certainly wouldn’t have offered a sixth year guaranteed. I know they’ve got more money than they used to, but they’re still not a huge baseball market and anything more than that could prove a massive hindrance late in the deal.

I’m not saying Wilson would get more or even nearly as much as Sabathia.

It was a smart move to offer Sabathia the amount they did when they did. While I don’t think it’s a good deal (Remember, he’s the highest paid pitcher in baseball and he’s got almost a guaranteed six years), I don’t think it’s a bad deal either. The two aren’t mutually exclusive. I don’t sincerely believe he would’ve gotten any more on the open market, but I likewise don’t think he would’ve gotten any less either (After Lee signed a deal after Sabathia set the market in ’09, Sabathia was unlikely to accept less without opting out). I think the Yankees were going to keep him regardless and they were going to commit to somewhere around 6 years and $150 million, which is effectively what happened. The benefit is that they avoided a huge drama about it. Just because it was the right move, however, does not make it a “good deal” and this may just be a matter of semantics. When I think “good deal,” I think discount or paying below market value and it’s impossible to call the highest paid player at a position a below market deal.

Guest
3 years 9 months ago

I got it. Evan Longoria and Robinson Cano are good deals. CC was the smart deal, which to the Yankees at $122m is a good deal. Yes, it’s just interpretation of how we value these things. See my below post about $25mm being spent next season in the Sox rotation and I think you’ll appreciate my point a little more. 

johnsilver
3 years 9 months ago

I thought it was a decent deal also. My thinking was Sabathia would end up with 25-30m and 7 years again. NY only having to pay him that average of what was it? 24.6? Flor 5 years was not bad at all.

Guest
3 years 9 months ago

…and I should point out you being a Red Sox fan, in theory you have about $60mm-$65mm going to a handful of pitchers, Lackey, Dice K, that will at this point, perhaps never pay additional dividends. I’m not talking about past, I’m talking about currently committed salary. In fact, btw Dice K and Lackey, that’s about $25mm next season for both of them, neither will pitch and that’s CC’s salary right there. Boom now where at 4 years left on CC’s deal going into 2013. How would you like to spend $25mm next season in your rotation. CC or Lackey and Dice K to sit on the DL? I’m just trying to get you to have a little better perspective on this scenario. The Yanks got a sweet deal and CC definitely showed his true colors being a professional and sticking to his words. He didn’t opt out. It was the Yanks who threw the additional year and money at him.

0bsessions
3 years 9 months ago

What does ANY of that have to do with what I just said?

diesel2410
3 years 9 months ago

My reaction: “oh, typical”

JB3
3 years 9 months ago

It’s 142M over 6 years, not $147M.  While the vesting option if $25M, there’s a $5M buyout included in the 5 years $122M figure.  Still a ton of cash.

3 years 9 months ago

Someone else said it yesterday, and I completely agree, this had a lot to do with his wife trying to make him not look too greedy.

chico65
3 years 9 months ago

I don’t get this 5/122 spin.  He didn’t opt out of his old contract from what I read.  That means all he did was add a year to the old deal.  So he signed for 1 year, 30 million and will now be paid 122MM over that 5 year span- that doesn’t mean it’s a new 5 year contract, it’s a 1 year contract added onto the exisiting 7 year one.

Shu13
3 years 9 months ago

He added 1 yr guaranteed and 1 yr that could vest so it’s a possible 2/$50m onto his old 7yr deal…

chico65
3 years 9 months ago

Err, thanks Shu, forgot about the option there.  The point remains though that everyone’s spinning this deal like it’s more than it really is. 

0bsessions
3 years 9 months ago

“However, I believe Sabathia would have landed six guaranteed years in that same $147MM range, at minimum, on the open market. ”

From who?

I agree that it was a great maneuver to lock up up early. It removes a potentially huge distraction that could’ve completely derailed their offseason plans, but I really can’t think of who else would’ve given him that sixth year guaranteed, much less a seventh. The Werth signing immediately bit the Nationals and they’ve already got some promising pitching on the way, the Red Sox might’ve been interested, but not to the tune of six guaranteed years, the Angels are just settling in a new GM and already have an excellent pitching staff and there’s been indications the Rangers were unlikely to top $100MM for a starter.

Realistically, I don’t see how he would’ve gotten more than that on the open market.

Lunchbox45
3 years 9 months ago

Rangers not giving wilson 100 million is a lot different than giving CC 140+.. Texas made a very competitive offer to Lee last year, well over 100 million, not sure why they wouldn’t now.

The key here is that despite all the reports about testing the market, CC legitimately wanted to stay in NYC. He had all the leverage, he didn’t have to accept so quickly.

Guest
3 years 9 months ago

This would be correct. Consistent to what I said above. 

0bsessions
3 years 9 months ago

No, he didn’t have to accept so quickly, but I’d say it was the smart move from both a contract and PR standpoint. Realistically, I just don’t see it likely that he would’ve done better in free agency and had it leaked out that the Yankees offered him that contract and he still opted out, the media would’ve eaten him alive and even if he returned to NY for that deal later on, it would’ve drastically altered the city’s view of him.

Lunchbox45
3 years 9 months ago

 yes, but I sincerely doubt he would care about how the media attacked him if he was content with going else where.. The point is, he didn’t want to go elsewhere, its what lead him to accepting an extension without exploring for more money first.

This all comes down to CC wanting to stay in New York, so the notion that he wouldn’t have gotten more on the open market is sort of moot

chico65
3 years 9 months ago

Jenny Craig might drastically alter the city’s view of him.  This scenario?  I’m not so sure.  Yanks fans already expect their players to be driven by the dollar, in fact they bank on it.

0bsessions
3 years 9 months ago

Go back through some of the Sabathia opt-out threads. There’s dozens of Yankees fans on there saying he’s a greedy, fat slob and they’re just as well letting him walk. I’m not saying they’re representative of the smarter side of Yankee fandom, but they’re there and they’re loud.

chico65
3 years 9 months ago

Fair enough, we’ve got more than our fair share of dipshi*s ourselves

0bsessions
3 years 9 months ago

If I had a dollar for every dullard who went around saying Gonzalez was a bad investment (And oh god, it happens, a lot), I’d have enough money to buy a boat to load them all into with the express intent of sinking the thing halfway across the Atlantic.

JoeSeadog
3 years 9 months ago

I just wonder if the question of “weight” was brought up in negotiations. All of the other teams that would have bid for his services would certainly have told him that weight was a worry. We are talking about a horse here who goes out every 5th day and gives you maximum effort, and has never really been hurt. BUT, at his age and the ages his contract will involve, there had to be talk of getting in better shape.

oz10
3 years 9 months ago

That is why he did not go to free agency. He was afraid that when it was said that other teams would chase him that he would have to run away and he is obviously anti running.

3 years 9 months ago

Why do the teams always have to take 100 percent of the risk? OK I could see giving him an extra year , but not two. 

Ta-Kuan Fuan
3 years 9 months ago

The second vesting year is dependent on him remaining healthy the prior year (something like not being on the DL for more than 45 days or making 6+ relief appearances due to a stint on the DL,etc). Basically, if he stays healthy in 2016, he’ll get his $25MM in 2017.

JoeSeadog
3 years 9 months ago

A lot of pitchers may be anti-running, but every one of them runs, and runs a lot. If a pitcher doesn’t have strong legs, he doesn’t have a strong arm and he can’t last in a game. Legs are what gets a pitcher to where he’s great. If a pitcher doesn’t run, he rides an awful lot of bicycle, twice as long as he might run.