CC Sabathia has allegedly made the deal with the devil. For a reported $161M over the course of 7 year, Sabathia will be fronting a New York Yankees pitching rotation that for the first time is several years is stocked with youth.
Joining Chin-Ming-Wang (28) and Joba Chamberlain (23) is the 28 year old inning eating mound monster that carried the Milwaukee Brewers to a playoff berth for the first time in 26 years. Upon official announcement, and alleged contract fine tuning in the area of a no-trade clause, you can expect New York fans to be celebrating whilst rival naysayers and general drinkers of hater-ade begin their rants about money and unfairness and blah blah blah.
Before the true celebrating and planning can begin, General Manager Brian Cashman must find two more stud arms to help round out what is looking to be a hellacious starting rotation. There are rumors of deals being presented to AJ Burnett, Derek Lowe, and Sabathia’s former teammate Ben Sheets.
Lowe and Sheets could be looking at an annual range of $15-16M per year with Burnett fetching a slightly higher figure as he is in the middle of a tug-of-war with Boston and Atlanta with contract lengths looking in the 4-5 year range.
The deal for Sheets, however, could net the Yankees a sweet 2 year gamble. Sheets has a history of bad health. When he is healthy, he is prime. Having only two years to worry about gives the Bombers a chance to evaluate his performance and test the market again in two years.
Also waiting in the wings is Andy Pettitte, a perennial Yankee favorite who should be looking at Cooperstown in the not so distant future. Pettitte, 38, however feels he has another year – maybe two – left in his arm. Although he had a poor showing for his standards (and $16M salary) he still notched 14 wins to the team record. It could be argued that a few of his losses were even due to inconsistent run support.
The Yanks extended a $10M offer to Pettitte, who declined but remains optimistic that a deal can be made before the winter whirlwind dies down. Pettitte is not eager for a pay cut, but with his waning performance, fading “stuff”, and the inclusion of several high salaried young players coming in, he ought to play ball. Take $13M, it’s a compromise.
Tim Wakefield, the longest tenured Boston Red Sox pitcher is on a rolling $4M option. As long as both he and the team want him to play, he can play.
If the Yanks can snag Pettitte for one year and Sheets for two, they are free to promote internal players Phil Coke, Alfredo Aceves, or Phil Hughes when they are ready. They also have felxibility to test the free agent market time and again over the next few years to fill in any leftover gaps.
It’s a win-win situation.
Who would really want to face a rotation of Sabathia, Wang, Sheets, Joba, and Pettitte?
No one in their right mind, that’s who.