Joel Sherman of the New York Post offers some potential spoilers for the Yankees and Mets in regards to C.C. Sabathia and closers Francisco Rodriguez and Brian Fuentes.
Sherman suggests that Sabathia could wind up in an Angels uniform if Mark Teixeira isn’t re-signed. Owner Arte Moreno won’t wait around for Scott Boras’s games, and has stated that he’ll make an offer with a time limit. If Teixeira can’t be had, the Angels will likely shift their focus to Sabathia.
Sherman likens this situation to that of the 2004 Astros, who waited until mid-January for Boras and Carlos Beltran to decide on the Mets. That loss crippled the Astros’ offseason, as their #2 and #3 targets had by that point been signed. Sherman feels Moreno won’t make that mistake. Sabathia has pointed out a strong desire to pitch in the National League and/or on the West Coast:
He has placed a value on either the NL and/or West Coast, and could take less to fill at least one of those desires. How? Remember that Johan Santana’s current pitching record deal of six years at $137.5 million is loaded with deferrals that make the real present-day annual average not $22.92 million, but $20.66 million. So maybe a West Coast team only has to beat that lower annual total.
Sherman also feels the Brewers could swoop in and snatch up a top-tier closer away from the Mets. The Brewers have shown a willingness to pay for this position (offering Francisco Cordero a four-year, $40MM contract, and then signing Eric Gagne to a one-year, $10MM deal when Cordero went to the Reds). Sherman offers a scenario where the Ben Sheets accepts the Brewers’ arbitration offer to re-build his reputation on a one-year, $15MM deal, which could alleviate the need for starting pitching and lead to the Brewers signing a top-tier closer.
With the Angels freeing up a lot of money, and Salomon Torres telling the Brewers he’s hanging it up, both of these situations seem plausible, particularly the Brewers scenario if you ask this guy. What does everyone else think? Can the Angels really land Sabathia?