Friday, December 12, 2008

Updated thoughts on the Sabathia opt-out

Courtesy of Ken Davidoff:

Here is the column I wrote about CC Sabathia. After I sent this column, I ran into a friend of CC's, and he agreed wholly with my take: CC will be so outta here in three years. Which could very well be a good thing for the Yankees.

How much does CC prefer the West Coast over the East Coast? "
He hates having spring training in Florida," the friend said.

As I wrote, there's every reason that CC will give everything he has to the Yankees for three years. But the idea that he'll want to stay in New York after that? No. And if you're a Yankees fan, you've got to love the idea of bidding him adieu well before his decline phase kicks in.

Ya know what, I'll take three kickass years from CC and then worry about replacing him, and not worrying about the last few years. Again, if his arm falls off before then, forget I ever said this.

More from Davidoff's linked-to column:

Sabathia's reputation is golden. There's every reason to think that, despite the obvious reality that New York did not rank as his first choice, he'll embrace his role as the Yankees' ace. That he'll give all he has, just as he did to the '08 Brewers during what he knew was a temporary stay.

He'll bring his heart to New York; he won't leave it in San Francisco. And yet ... By the time the 2011 season concludes, Barry Zito will have just two years left on the gargantuan contract he signed with the Giants in December 2006. Tim Lincecum will be two years away from free agency. Matt Cain will be a free agent. The Giants will have the roster flexibility necessary to welcome in Sabathia, at a still young 31.

And the Yankees, they hope, will have developed enough young arms - from the group of Dellin Betances, Jeremy Bleich, Andrew Brackman, Joba Chamberlain, Phil Hughes and whoever else emerges - that they can cheer when Sabathia relieves them of their remaining, four-year, $92-million commitment.

When that happens, then history will officially smile on Brian Cashman's decision a year ago not to trade Hughes and other chips for Johan Santana. Just think: While the Mets will be sweating out Santana's health in 2013, monitoring the progress of the four players they gave to Minnesota, the Yankees will already have been in and out with Sabathia, while surrendering only a draft pick.

Now, let's not ignore the obvious downside of this transaction: What if Sabathia is terrible and miserable these first three years? What if, three years from now, he can't even sniff four years and $92 million on the open market?

That's a long shot, first of all. If it does happen, though, then the Yankees probably would have to ship Sabathia to the Giants or Dodgers and pay a lot of the freight. That would be a highly unpleasant experience. But really, what is the chance that's how it will go down?

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