C.C. Sabathia Rumors
The Dodgers called the Yankees to inquire about the possibility of trading for C.C. Sabathia and Mark Teixeira, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports. The Yankees told the Dodgers they had no interest in moving either player despite their substantial contracts (four years and $99MM remain on Sabathia’s deal; four years and $90MM remain on Teixeira’s deal).
Los Angeles recently acquired Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford and Nick Punto from Boston by agreeing to take on $260MM in future salaries. Dodgers officials weren’t inspired by the upcoming free agent class, so they explained to rival teams that they’re willing to take on substantial contracts. This gave the Dodgers the leverage to complete many deals -- few clubs could add substantial payroll midseason.
There are no signs the Dodgers were interested in Alex Rodriguez, Sherman writes. Some executives question Rodriguez’s ability to play third base every day at this stage in his career, and he might be best-suited for the American League. Furthermore. the Dodgers view Hanley Ramirez and Dee Gordon as solutions on the left side of the infield.
The Yankees would love to move Rodriguez for payroll reasons, according to Sherman. Yankees executives aim to avoid the $189MM luxury tax threshold for 2014, and Rodriguez’s contract limits their flexibility (five years and $114MM remain on Rodriguez's deal). However, Rodriguez has a no-trade provision, as do Sabathia and Teixeira.
Every year a few players join baseball’s exclusive $100MM club with free agent deals and mega-extensions. Last offseason was no different -- eight players signed nine figure deals. The contracts were all for five years or more, so it’s far too early to call them successes or failures. As the season approaches its halfway point, let’s check in on baseball’s newest $100MM contracts:
- Albert Pujols, ten-year, $240MM contract - Pujols had a painfully slow start, but he has raised his batting line to a respectable .270/.332/.461. His last 40 games have been legitimately Pujols-like: 11 home runs and an OPS over 1.000.
- Joey Votto, ten-year, $225MM extension - It's impossible to have a complete discussion about baseball's best hitters without considering Votto. The 28-year-old leads the National League in on-base percentage, slugging percentage, walks, doubles and wOBA, so this deal couldn't be going any better for the Reds.
- Prince Fielder, nine-year, $214MM contract - Fielder continues to hit at an All-Star level, though he has a relatively modest total of 12 home runs. Unfortunately for Tigers fans Mike Ilitch's bold investment hasn't been enough to keep the team above .500.
- Matt Kemp, eight-year, $160MM extension - Hamstring issues have sidelined Kemp, who was the best hitter in the National League for the first month of the season.
- C.C. Sabathia, five-year, $122MM extension - Sabathia, now on the disabled list with a strained groin, is in the midst of yet another tremendous season. He has a 3.45 ERA with 8.8 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9 in 107 innings.
- Matt Cain, five-year, $112.5MM extension - Cain's enjoying his best season as a Major Leaguer. He has a career-best ERA (2.27), strikeout rate (9.0 K/9) and walk rate (1.9 BB/9) through 107 innings. The Giants' decision to invest in Cain still looks like a good one.
- Jose Reyes, six-year, $106MM extension - Reyes' offensive numbers have dropped off across the board this year, no thanks to a 60 point dip in batting average on balls in play.
- Ryan Zimmerman, six-year, $100MM extension - Zimmerman's off to a slow start at the plate despite two home runs in his past three games. He missed two weeks with shoulder soreness earlier in the year and has just a .235/.297/.350 batting line.
In the eyes of people like Derek Jeter, the season doesn't truly begin until the Yankees play their first home game. Here are some Yankees-related notes as the Bronx Bombers prepare to host their first game of the season...
- Joel Sherman of the New York Post points out that transitioning to the AL East can be a daunting task for starting pitchers, but Yankees GM Brian Cashman says Hiroki Kuroda can succeed in his new division. "Our scouts really liked Kuroda and feel he will be a contributing member to an AL rotation," he said.
- Scouts haven't been impressed with Alex Rodriguez's mechanics so far this season, George A. King III of the New York Post writes. However, scouts tell King that Jeter has actually gotten faster.
- C.C. Sabathia should recover from a somewhat disappointing start to the season, Ken Davidoff of the New York Post writes. But Sherman suggests Sabathia's been a different pitcher since last July. The Yankees signed the left-hander to a nine-figure extension soon after the 2011 season ended.
- In a piece at River Ave. Blues, Mike Axisa says it's too early to worry seriously about Sabathia and explains why he fully expects the Yankees to spend big on Robinson Cano next offseason. The 29-year-old Cano is an extension candidate.
- "I'd say it's fair to say C.J. Wilson is probably the best pitcher on the marketplace right now since CC Sabathia's been taken out and retained here," said Cashman. "I don’t think it's a stretch to tell anybody that he’s the most attractive candidate."
- Cashman cautioned that he's talking about Wilson in terms of talent and performance, not necessarily cost. "You have your priority list and how it looks," said Cashman. "But then it gets rearranged by cost analysis."
- "I think he would be on anybody's wish list," said Cashman when asked about Albert Pujols. "In our circumstances, our roster, he doesn't fit. It's not an efficient way to try to allocate your resources."
- Cashman said re-signing Sabathia "was not a layup," and admitted there were some nervous moments leading up to the deadline for his ace left-hander to opt-out. "That’s never a fun process, but the resolution we’re really happy with, and we know he is."
- When asked if he sees himself getting fired or retiring, Cashman joked "I would say that normally you get fired. I think it’s a healthy way to look at it. I think at some point, they usually tell you to go."
Red Sox GM Ben Cherington confirmed to reporters that the Red Sox and Cubs have obtained a one-week extension to work out compensation for former Boston GM Theo Epstein. Here are some more notes from the division, starting with the Red Sox...
- Peter Gammons of MLB Network said on WEEI's Mut & Merloni show that he won't be surprised if David Ortiz returns to the Red Sox this offseason.
- Though the Red Sox have considered moving Daniel Bard to the rotation, Gammons has heard it's not likely. Jerry Spar has the details at WEEI.com.
- The Red Sox are in talks with Ortiz and, to a lesser extent, with Jonathan Papelbon, according to Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe (on Twitter).
- It's highly unlikely that the Yankees will sign Roy Oswalt, according to Wallace Matthews of ESPNNewYork.com. The club's worried about Oswalt's injury history, according to Matthews. Oswalt had multiple stints on the DL with lower back issues in 2011.
- The Yankees are "open-minded" about the possibility of moving A.J. Burnett or anyone else without a full no-trade clause, according to Chad Jennings of the Journal News. However, the GM sees value in the innings Burnett has provided.
- Joe Pawlikowski of River Ave. Blues expects Jesus Montero to open the 2012 season with the Yankees, but he wonders if New York could obtain Mat Latos, Jaime Garcia or Jordan Zimmermann for the catching prospect.
- Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports takes a detailed look at C.C. Sabathia’s vesting option for 2017.
- For the latest on the Orioles’ GM search, click here.
It's been a busy day for the Yankees. They've announced their extension with GM Brian Cashman and declined their option on Andrew Brackman, making the right-hander a free agent. Reactions to C.C. Sabathia's extension have continued streaming in and we have some more notes to pass along from Cashman's conversation with reporters. Most of the quotes below come via Marc Carig of the Star-Ledger:
- By signing Sabathia, the Yankees added "the most important piece" of the offseason, Cashman said.
- "Offense is not a problem with this club," Cashman said. He's right - the Yankees scored more runs than any MLB team but the Red Sox and their starting lineup returns in 2012, so pursuing Prince Fielder or Albert Pujols doesn't seem likely.
- The focus of the winter is "pitching, pitching, pitching," Cashman said.
- Cashman said the organization is better-positioned to evaluate Japanese players than it was a few years ago. The Yankees could express interest in Yu Darvish, the Japanese right-hander who may be posted this offseason.
- Jesus Montero's role with the Yankees has yet to be determined: he could DH, catch on a semi-regular basis or be a bat off of the bench. Cashman expects Montero to contribute in the Major Leagues.
- Cashman said picking up Nick Swisher's $10.25MM option was an easy decision.
- Agent Peter Greenberg says there’s mutual interest between the Yankees and free agent Freddy Garcia in working out a new deal, according to Mark Hale, George A. King III and Joel Sherman of the New York Post. The Yankees would likely offer the Type B right-hander arbitration.
- I examined the Yankees' offseason last week.
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.
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.
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.
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.