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Is CC Really the Answer??

The Yankees have offered free agent left-hander CC Sabathia a contract, reportedly for six years and $140 million. That would make him the highest paid pitcher in the game, exceeding the $137.5 million deal Johan Santana signed with the Mets last offseason.

My question to New York ... why?

Sabathia, while young and talented and coming off a terrific second half for the Milwaukee Brewers, would bring just as many questions to the Yankees as he would answers. This is a pitcher, mind you, who until heading to the weaker National League had struggled in Cleveland with a 6-8 record during the first half of last season. This is a pitcher who is pushing 300 pounds with questions surrounding his back. This is a pitcher with a 1-3 record and 7.92 ERA in the postseason, numbers that are simply A-Rod-esque. But most importantly, this is a pitcher who by all accounts does not seem certain he wants to play in New York, but rather remain closer to his West Coast roots.

By the time next season rolls around the Yankees will be working on nine years since their last championship -- an eternity by their standards -- and with an unlimited cash supply they clearly want to make a splash this offseason. And while Sabathia clearly is their No. 1 priority, I believe they would be better off to focus on A.J. Burnett (a longtime Red Sox killer) and Derek Lowe (an accomplished postseason pitcher).

Sadly, Sabathia might not actually have as much say as one would think in making this decision. Being that he's the top free agent out there, the players' union may put a lot of pressure on him to accept the Yankees' offer as a way of setting the market. It's a situation reminiscent of Jim Thome, who somewhat reluctantly left Cleveland for Philadelphia after the 2002 season because the Phillies' offer was a year longer.


By Tom Heleba  |  November 16, 2008; 10:53 AM ET
 
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Comments

In fairness to Sabathia, that AL record before the trade can be divided into April, before they figured out how he was tipping his pitches, and after, when he was back to his normal, when he was outstanding except for wins. I think it was Steve Phillips who actually showed how he was tipping his pitches on the air.

The Yankees need a ton of pitching, and starting with a 300 lbs. guy is the quickest way to a ton. The mystery about Sabathia will be whether, and how long, he can continue to handle his work load, both in terms of innings and weight. 6 years is probably 3 more years than is prudent for a pitcher, but he will get that if he wants it. It's not the same position, but recall Mo Vaughn's history. With a guy that size, it takes just an ankle, knee, or foot injury to start a cycle of conditioning failure. In a way, perhaps the arm stress is less of a concern given his motion and overall strength.

He could probably walk away from the current NYY offer if either LAA or LAD came up with 5 years, $125 million. He could say to the union, "The AAV is a record for a pitcher, and I'll get to go back out at 33 for even more." But the NYY would then go up to $150 for 6 years. At that point, our Red Sox will be facing him for years to come.

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | November 16, 2008 11:48 AM | Report abuse

He had a 3.86 ERA with Cleveland while going through a bad stretch. That's hardly the mark of a terrible pitcher.

You're still using wins and losses to evaluate pitchers? I'd suggest you saddle up next to Sheinin and pick his thoughts on wins and losses as determining factors of a pitcher's value. You might learn something!

Posted by: Uncle_Teddy | November 16, 2008 12:23 PM | Report abuse

I wish CC good luck,he was a signicant part of our Indians.Weight has always been bothersome to management.I can understand why management does not extend long term contracts to pitchers.Wear & tear seems to be more prevalent than in previous years.Lowering the mound in my opinion is a part of the prevalent injuries.
Sign with the Dodgers CC

Posted by: hresnicksbcglobalnet | November 16, 2008 7:07 PM | Report abuse

Let the Yanks break the bank on CC. Let the Mess get hosed on K-Rod. Let the Dodgers grossly overpay for Manny. Both the Phils and Rays proved that it's the little moves that count, and not necessarily the high-priced, budget-busting offseason signings.

Posted by: DontWannaMyPostID | November 16, 2008 7:19 PM | Report abuse

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