From Terry Pluto -
I never expected C.C. Sabathia to sign an extension with the Tribe. The market for the 27-year-old Cy Young Award winner is far too rich not only for Cleveland, but most teams. The Indians have talked about contracts recently given to Roy Halladay (three years, $40 million), Jake Peavy (three years, $52 million), Carlos Zambrano (five years, $91 million) and Chris Carpenter (five years, $63 million). They’d probably give any of those deals to Sabathia, or even the four-year, $80 million that Johan Santana turned down from the Twins before he was traded to the Mets.
But the market for Sabathia will be set by two contracts — the seven-year, $126 million that Barry Zito received from San Francisco last winter and the six-year, $137.5 million deal Santana secured from the Mets. That means Sabathia will be a $100-plus million pitcher, and perhaps in line to become the highest-paid pitcher in history when he’s a free agent at the end of the 2008 season with a contract that could run as long as seven years.
The general rule is the longer the contract, the more risk by the team. That’s especially true for pitchers, who have a higher probability of injury. I would be stunned if the Tribe offered a seven-year deal to Sabathia — and just as shocked if Sabathia took anything significantly less than what Santana is paid.
When you consider how much money is coming off the Yankees payroll after this season, and how few decent starting pitchers are available via trade or free agency, and the salary demands of Sabathia, how long from now do you think it will take to have stories popping up about Sabathia coming to the Bronx in 2009? Not very long at all, if you ask me.
Sabathia’s effort last year was probably the 4th best season by a LH-SP in the AL since 2001. But, I just don’t see him, because of his size and conditioning, as being someone who can pitch well as he gets near his 30′s. If he hits the market, I hope the Yankees raise the “Not Interested” flag as soon as possible.