C.C. Sabathia Rumors

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.

Yankees, C.C. Sabathia Agree To Extension

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.

Yankees Made New Offer To Sabathia

The Yankees officially submitted a new contract offer to C.C. Sabathia over the weekend, according to Wallace Matthews of ESPNNewYork.com. The terms of the offer were not disclosed, but Matthews writes that Yankees insiders still expect Sabathia to test the free agent market despite the proposal. Sabathia has yet to respond to the offer, says Matthews' source:

"We believe it is a very fair offer,'' the executive said. "But we haven't heard anything back yet.''

That report lines up with a tweet from SI.com's Jon Heyman earlier today, who said that Sabathia is planning on opting out of his contract prior to Monday night. It's been well publicized that Sabathia is likely to opt out of the remaining four years of his contract in search of a bigger, potentially record-setting deal. As Ben Nicholson-Smith pointed out in examining the Yankees' offseason, their success hinges on the ability to construct a strong rotation, and Sabathia is the key to that process.

To track Sabathia's progress, or that of any other free agent, check out MLBTR's Free Agent Tracker.

Quick Hits: White Sox, Indians, Sabathia, Sizemore

A grab-bag of links on the first Sunday of what should be a fun offseason….

  • Don't expect the White Sox to pick up any big-ticket players on the free agent market, writes MLB.com's Scott Merkin.  The club is unlikely to bring Juan Pierre back in 2012 and if they look to replace him with a traditional leadoff type, Merkin expects the team to do so via trade.
  • It would be a surprise if the Indians re-signed Chad Durbin as the club has several promising young relievers who could take his spot, writes Paul Hoynes of The Plain Dealer.
  • The Yankees will make a contract offer to C.C. Sabathia this weekend, tweets SI.com's Jon Heyman. However, most people expect the lefty to opt out of his current deal and "look around."
  • Newsday's Ken Davidoff predicts destinations and contract details for his top 30 free agents, in slideshow form.
  • The Rangers, Nationals, and Brewers top Buster Olney's list of potential landing spots for Grady Sizemore (ESPN insider link).
  • Hisashi Iwakuma confirmed that he will attempt to sign with an MLB team again this winter, according to NPB Tracker's Patrick Newman (via Sponichi). Iwakuma was unable to work out a deal with the Athletics last offseason.
  • New Angels GM Jerry Dipoto will have complete decision-making power, says Angels owner Arte Moreno. Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times has details and quotes.
  • The Padres will hire Phil Plantier as their new hitting coach, tweets FOX's Ken Rosenthal.

Yankees Rumors: Sabathia, Posada, Free Agents

One year ago this weekend, the Yankees re-signed manager Joe Girardi to a three-year contract. GM Brian Cashman got a new three-year deal of his own this week, and now the team will move forward with its offseason plans. Here's the latest from the Bronx…

  • Although Cashman will meet with CC Sabathia's agent this weekend, George A. King III and Joel Sherman of The New York Post report that the team is not overly optimistic about reaching an agreement about a new contract before their ace can opt out of the final four years and $92MM of his deal on Monday night.
  • "You hope he thinks long and hard about coming back and why he likes it here so much," said Girardi when asked by reporters (including MLB.com's Bryan Hoch) about the future of Jorge Posada. Earlier this month, more than 10,000 MLBTR readers said they expect Posada to retire.
  • Because so many big name free agents play positions that are already occupied on the roster, King says it's possible the Yankees will stay relatively quiet during free agency. They don't figure to chase Carlos Beltran or Michael Cuddyer because they will command multi-year contracts.
  • For more about what could in store for the Yankees this offseason, check out Ben Nicholson-Smith's Offseason Outlook. Tim Dierkes broke down the team's six arbitration cases in his Arbitration Eligibles series.

Cashman, Sabathia’s Agent To Meet This Weekend

7:21pm: Sherman posted a correction (on Twitter); the commissioner's office memo does not apply to Sabathia, he only has until midnight ET on Monday to exercise his opt-out clause.

The league clarified that players can file for free agency at 12:01am ET Sunday morning (Saturday night) and talk to new teams at 12:01am ET Thursday morning (Wednesday night). All option decisions are due by 11:59pm ET on Monday night (Twitter links).

5:44pm: The Yankees took care of one important piece of business by agreeing to a new three-year contract with GM Brian Cashman recently, and now they're moving on to bigger and better things. ESPN New York's Andrew Marchand reports that Cashman will meet with CC Sabathia's agent this weekend in an attempt to complete a new contract extension before the ace left-hander can opt-out of his contract and become a free agent.

Joel Sherman of The New York Post says (via Twitter) the commissioner's office sent out a memo informing teams that the offseason officially begins at midnight ET on Sunday, so Sabathia has until midnight ET on Wednesday to exercise his opt-out clause. Yesterday we heard that the team was "close to completing" a new contract offer for Sabathia, an offer Cashman figures to present this weekend.

Sherman notes (via Twitter) that he expects the offer to be in the five-year and $120MM range, similar to what Cliff Lee got from the Phillies last offseason. The team is concerned about bidding against itself however, simply because there aren't many other clubs capable of putting together an offer of that magnitude. Earlier this month, nearly 1,500 MLBTR readers said they expect Sabathia's new contract to be in the $121-130MM range.

Yankees Notes: Beltran, Sabathia, Cashman, Montero

We heard this morning that Robinson Cano is looking to re-work his deal with the Yankees. Here’s more news about the defending American League East champions…

  • The Yankees are considering Carlos Beltran as a possible right fielder, according to Wallace Matthews of ESPNNewYork.com. The Yankees have a $10.25MM option for Nick Swisher that they have to make a decision on after the World Series, but they could pick up the option, sign Beltran and trade Swisher.
  • The Yankees’ negotiations with C.C. Sabathia could come down to the team's willingness to guarantee the left-hander a seventh year, according to George A. King III of the New York Post. While the Yankees would be comfortable with a five or six-year deal worth roughly $25MM per season, the Yankees would pause if Sabathia wants a seven or eight-year deal. Sabathia is expected to opt out of the four years and $92MM remaining on his contract.
  • Anthony McCarron of the New York Daily News hears that Brian Cashman’s extension with the Yankees is “just about” complete. The GM’s deal, which appears to be for three years or more, could be announced as soon as the World Series ends.
  • Joel Sherman of the New York Post draws parallels between Mike Napoli of the Rangers and Yankees catching prospect Jesus Montero. Montero can hit despite questions about his defensive ability, so Sherman suggests it might be wise for the Yankees to keep Montero instead of trading him for starting pitching.

Yankees Aim To Sign Sabathia Before Opt-Out Date

9:07pm: The Yankees are "close to completing" a new offer for Sabathia, according to David Waldstein of the New York Times.

9:36am: If the World Series ends tonight, Yankees ace C.C. Sabathia could opt out of his contract as early as tomorrow.  The Yankees, however, hope to quickly take Sabathia off the market by signing him before he opts out, according to George A. King III of the New York Post.

Yankees' brass is currently meeting in Tampa.  King says they are "believed to be OK with a five or six-year deal for an obvious raise over his $23MM a year," but they don't want to go to seven or eight years.  If they propose something like six years and $150MM, that might be enough to prevent Sabathia from exploring the open market.  I think it's possible he could find something like seven years at a $24MM salary on the open market, but there's no guarantee.  Now, if the Yankees won't guarantee a sixth year, I think C.C. is going to have to explore the market.  Guaranteeing a sixth year from the start would give the Yankees a good chance of keeping Sabathia off the market, in my opinion. 

In a poll of almost 8,000 MLBTR readers earlier this month, opinions were divided on the expected total of Sabathia's new deal.  18% of those polled predicted a contract in the $121-130MM range, while 14% saw a deal exceeding $170MM.  For MLBTR's full archive of Sabathia rumors, click here.  Click here for a look at all the available starting pitchers on the free agent market.

Davidoff On Pujols, Fielder, Angels, Oppenheimer

Industry people are curious whether C.C. Sabathia actually would leave the Yankees and opinions are all over the map on where Jose Reyes will end up in 2012.  There's an even bigger debate brewing in baseball circles, writes Ken Davidoff of Newsday..

  • Whoever signs first between Prince Fielder and Albert Pujols will set the financial bar for the other player to top and it's hard to say who will make the first move.  Pujols has a realistic chance to re-sign with the Cardinals while it seems increasingly unlikely that Fielder will return to the Brewers.  There's also the matter of the relationship between the players' agents, Scott Boras and Dan Lozano.  Boras has shown in the past that he has no concerns about dragging his players' free agencies well past January 1st in order get the deal he wants.  Meanwhile, Pujols represents Lozano's first big test since breaking off from the Beverly Hills Sports Council last year.
  • For now, Davidoff predicts that Pujols will sign first and stay with the Cardinals.  Fielder, wherever he goes, won't top Pujols' annual average value.
  • There are a number of candidates for the vacant Angels' GM position but Rays executive vice president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman is the club's top choice.  However, it's widely assumed that Friedman will remain with Tampa Bay.  Davidoff writes that Yankees senior vice president/director of scouting Damon Oppenheimer seems like the best choice for the job.  Oppenheimer played a significant role in several departments for the Bombers, from postseason scouting to discovering amateur talent to recommending major-league trades.  Oppenheimer would bring baseball intelligence and a strong presence to serve as a check and balance for owner Arte Moreno and manager Mike Scioscia .

Yankees Notes: Sabathia, Swisher, Blake, Soriano

Two Yankee legends were born on October 20: longtime Yankee Stadium PA announcer Bob Sheppard (born in 1910) and number #7 himself, Mickey Mantle (born in 1931).  As coincidence would have it, both Sheppard and Mantle debuted at Yankee Stadium in 1951.

Here's the latest from the modern-day Bronx Bombers….

  • There haven't been any negotiations between the Yankees and C.C. Sabathia since the end of the ALDS, reports Ken Davidoff from Newsday.  The club "told Sabathia to take his time in sorting things out," though the Yankees hope to begin talks before the trigger date of Sabathia's opt-out clause, which is three days after the World Series ends.  Davidoff writes the Yankees would rather give Sabathia a larger annual salary in a new contract rather than add more years.
  • The Yankees are "very likely" to pick up Nick Swisher's $10.25MM option for 2012, reports ESPN New York's Wallace Matthews, though they may wait "until the very last minute" (i.e. three days after the World Series) to do so.
  • If Eric Chavez retires, Matthews reports the Yankees are weighing whether to make rookie Brandon Laird the primary third base backup or to acquire a veteran like Casey Blake for the spot.  Blake's $6MM option for 2012 was bought out by the Dodgers for $1.25MM two weeks ago, making him a free agent.
  • Scott Boras, Rafael Soriano's agent, tells Matthews it is "highly unlikely" that Soriano will opt out of the two years and $25MM remaining on his contract with New York.
  • The Yankees can't be blamed for their lack of pitching acquisitions at the trade deadline, writes Joe Pawlikowski of the River Ave Blues blog, given the lack of obvious upgrades on the market.