According to George King, the Yankees have two offers on the table: a 6 year, $140-145 million offer to Sabathia and a 5 year, $80 million dollar offer to A.J. Burnett.
The Sabathia offer is a no-brainer. I am always astounded by the amount of people who use the old “the Yankees are buying a championship” rhetoric. Are they supposed to refuse to spend their money? Being in the NY market, the Yankees have the greatest reward for spending; they quite literally must spend money to make money. And anyways, aren’t the Angels, Dodgers, and Mets all going to spend significantly this offseason? Don’t the Red Sox throw their money around?
The Brewers GM thinks the Yankees are foolish for coming out and toping his offer by $40 million, but that is exactly what the Yankees had to do. If Sabathia signs elsewhere, everyone, including the player’s union, will know he left money on the table. Let’s face it, the Yankees aren’t getting Sabathia for less than that anyways.
As for Burnett, 5 years seems like too long of a commitment. Pete Abe predicts he signs a 4 year deal, and that is a bit more reasonable. I am not in favor of the Yankees getting Burnett personally, but if they do, I at least hope the contract is reasonable. They need to avoid having another Pavano albatross contract, since we know Burnett is injury prone. Also, Burnett is a pitcher who relies on the overwhelming quality of his “stuff”; while this gives him great upside, there is little chance he will evolve, as Mike Mussina did, into a control artist. Once he loses his fastball, he’s likely done. So if there is a 5th year (which would take him to his age 36 season), I hope it is a vesting option based on performance.
King also mentions that Pettitte’s agent doesn’t want Pettitte to take a pay cut (go figure) and that the Yanks will make an offer to Derek Lowe. I think Pettitte is just a matter of time and if Mussina had retired, the Yanks would probably have already have hammered out a deal with Andy. Lowe is an interesting case; so many teams are in on him, since he is a reliable innings eater and will likely command less than Sabathia and Burnett, that I think he may now be overvalued. Remember, he is 36 and his only sustained success as a starter has come in the NL.
If I had to take a guess right now, I would agree with Pete Abe’s prediction: the Yanks get Sabathia, Burnett, and Pettitte. So, Sabathia, Wang, Burnett, Pettitte, Joba (with Hughes, Aceves, Kennedy, etc waiting in the wings). What team’s rotation is clearly better than that?