The inevitable signing of CC

I’ve been telling anyone who asks since the beginning of free agency that I couldn’t imagine CC Sabathia signing with anyone but the Yankees.  It’s the perfect spot for him.

Over the past couple weeks, the media did a good job planting doubt in everyone’s mind.  Maybe CC doesn’t want to play on the east coast.  Maybe CC wants to be in the NL. 

At the end of the day, who was going to step up and give him a big money contract?  And playing in NY it’s not like he’s being shipped to Afghanistan; this is the biggest sports city in the world and it’s hard to imagine a competitor like CC not loving the rush.  And also let’s not forget that $161 million can buy a lot of comfort.

Did the Yankees pay a lot of money for CC?  Yes, yes they did.  But consider this: the average value of his contract is around $23 million.  Say by years 6 and 7, CC is nothing more than a league average innings eater.  That’s pretty much what Andy Pettitte was last year, and he’s going to probably get a good $12 million, maybe more.  Considering inflation, in 6 or 7 years that same type of pitcher is probably worth more.  So that $23 million a year still isn’t awful – the Yankees are happy to overpay a player a bit as long as they are still productive.  That’s a price the Yankees pay to do business and it’s understood. 

All that said, there is a good chance that CC will be above league average still at that time, in which case this deal is a big win for the Yankees.

As for the opt out clause, that is peace of mind for Sabathia.  If he opts out, that means his market value actually increased over 3 years.  And if that happens, then wow, the Yankees must have just got 3 great seasons out of him.

This whole deal went down exactly how the Yankees thought and hoped it would.  It is really amazing how much hand wringing happened over something so logical – but that’s the nature of sports media today. 

And speaking of media, this from Buster Olney, who always has a flair for the dramatic:

… the Yankees and their fans will expect nothing less than greatness. If he delivers anything less than a championship, if he doesn’t win big in October, he will be deemed a failure. Such is the bargain that’s struck when you choose to play in New York.

Sabathia will get the largest contract ever for a pitcher, Joel Sherman reports, and he is embracing the pressure of going into New York as a savior. That challenge eventually destroyed Chuck Knoblauch and confounded Roger Clemens for most of two seasons. It’s a challenge that still seems to gnaw at Alex Rodriguez.

Nice words Buster, but it is this kind of writing that makes the “New York Pressure” a self-fulfilling prophecy. Yeah, Yankees fans are pumped about CC, but can’t we just let him throw a game before we start foreshadowing his downfall? It takes at least a full season to win or not win a championship. CC is a big piece of the puzzle now for the Yankees future, but he’s still just one guy.


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