Monday, October 31, 2011

CC Sabathia Likely To Opt-Out At Midnight

The New York Yankees have until midnight Monday night to sign pitcher CC Sabathia before he can opt-out of the last four years of his seven-year deal with the team.  When the clock strikes twelve tonight—and there is no last minute agreement—Sabathia and his agents will void the remaining four years and $92 million of his original seven-year, $161 million contract.

Call him CCinderella.

The Yankees are believed to have made a last-ditch attempt at signing Sabathia to a new deal over the weekend, but it seems likely the 300-pound ace will exercise the option making Sabathia a free-agent, according to a report in the New York Daily News.

The team hoped to strike a deal with the 19-game winner before it got close to the deadline but, as of Sunday, it hasn't happened.

Yankees GM Brian Cashman—who's expected to sign a new contract of his own on Monday—was unavailable for comment this weekend.

Cashman offered the former-Cy Young winner the opt-out clause in 2008.  It gave Sabathia the option to leave the Yankees if things didn't work out in New York.

Sabathia has said in the past his family is happily settled in New Jersey and is satisfied where they are living.  Now, it looks like the 31 year-old pitcher is just looking for more money and a longer contract.

This is a problem which the Yankees brought upon themselves.

The Yankees starting rotation is pretty unsettled after Sabathia and last year's rookie sensation Ivan Nova.

A.J. Burnett is undefeated in April but a head case after May, Phil Hughes struggled through "dead arm" and Bartolo Colon's return is improbable since the 38 year-old wore down in the second half of 2011.  The team may bring back Freddy Garcia—who won 12 games last season—but that's not a given either.

Sabathia, the hefty lefty, led the Yankees to a World Series title in 2009 and began last season 25 pounds trimmer, but his expanding girth matched his fattening ERA down the stretch last season and he was less than overwhelming during the last two postseasons.

The Yankees are one of a handful of teams that could afford signing Sabathia.  He is expected to ask for a new deal with a minimum of five-years at $125 million (more likely seven years at $150 million) which would leap-frog him over the $120 million that 32 year-old Cliff Lee signed with the Philadelphia Phillies last year.

The Yankees will probably go all-out in making a deal with Sabathia today.  The free-agent market for top-notch starters is slim and Sabathia would be hard to replace.

C.J. Wilson, Mark Buehrle and Roy Oswalt lead the pack, but are all considered No. 2 starters and Yu Darvish—the Japanese phenom—has yet to prove himself in the U.S..

If Sabathia flies the coop, Cashman will be thrust into a difficult position.  He may have to trade one of his prize prospects like Jesus Montero for a No. 1 starter.

Well, if any time is a good time to turn into a pumpkin, it's the day after Halloween.

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