As is the case for most Yankees fans, I’ve been pondering what kind of an offer the Yanks should make to CC Sabathia. There is a good chance it will take $150 million to make CC don the pinstripes. Now, that is a lot of risk. Every long term deal of over $100 million has ended badly, but there really haven’t been very many, so there might not be enough data to make an accurate judgment (kind of like A-Rod’s postseason at-bats).
CC has had a large workload. The chances of a pitcher breaking down are much greater than that of a position player. The risks are high. CC isn’t exactly a health nut.
However, I can’t help but look at some recent deals and wonder how Sabathia could NOT be worth that much money. Carlos Silva got $48 million. Gil Meche received over 50. What about A.J. Burnett’s original deal? When he received $55 million from the Jays, everyone thought it was proposterous. He was injury prone and overrated from pitching in the NL. Well, both of those things turned out to be true. Burnett has had a tough time staying on the field and when he has pitched he has been inconsistent. Yet, he is about to opt out of his once “ridiculous” contract to sign a more lucrative one.
I guess the point here is that the price of starting pitching is kind of like real estate in Manhattan – it’s always going to go up. So even if the Yankees end up giving Sabathia a gigantic deal (say $160 million), there is a good chance they’ll get relatively decent value for it even if CC underachieves a bit. Because in the 5th or 6th year of the deal, even if Sabathia has regressed to an average pitcher, there is a good chance that average starters will be making at least over $15 million if not more.
So maybe signing starters isn’t quite as risky as it seems (though Carl Pavano might have something to say about that).