OK, so the entire world knows the New York Yankees will make a huge bid for free agent pitcher CC Sabathia. The entire world also knows by now that, all things being equal (meaning money, of course), pitching for my beloved pinstripes is probably not the hefty lefty’s first choice.
So, here’s your chance all of you amateur general managers out there. What kind of an offer would you make for Sabathia, far and away the most important target for the Yankees on this winter’s free-agent market?
Let’s just assume that the benchmark will be the 6-year, $137.5 million contract Johan Santana signed with the New York Mets last season. Nothing less is going to put the Hefty Lefty in an XXL pinstripe uniform in 2009.
What are you going to do?
Would you start with a 6-year, $150 million offer? Would you go to 7 years, $175 million? Would you blow everybody out of the water right from the start and hand Sabathia say, 6 years and $180 million? Maybe 7 years and $200 million?
If you are going to offer that kind of money and that kind of length of contract, would you insist on same safeguards in the final years of the contract? Say maybe the ability to opt out any time after year 4 if Sabathia doesn’t meet certain performance objectives? After all, the Yankees have been burned by expensive, bad contracts (Jason Giambi, Carl Pavano) that they are just getting out from underneath. Are you willing to write another massive check and take that kind of gamble.
If you were the GM, with a new stadium opening in the spring and feeling the heat of just having missed the playoffs for the first time in 13 years, would you feel like you had any choice?
Would you have the guts to offer CC 4 years, $100 million, or maybe $120 million, and telling him that’s as many years as you will give? Would you have the guts to deal with it if he walked away from that and ended up with, say, the Mets?
We know the Sabathia decision is a huge risk, either way. The Yankees could get themselves a dominant starting pitcher who will help put them back on top in the AL East. They could wind up with another bad contract for a guy who either gets hurt or doesn’t pitch as well as anticipated after the heavy workload he has had the past couple of seasons. They could miss out entirely and watch Sabathia pitch someone else to glory.
Any way you slice it, it’s a huge gamble.
Me? I would offer the 6 years, $150 million. I would also want some sort of protection after the fourth year, probably an opt out or buyout.
What would you do?
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