In August of last year, we were seeing this regarding CC Sabathia and the “opt-out” clause in his contract with the Yankees:
…the Yankees ace told The Post that he won’t “even consider” becoming a free agent after 2011, even though that provision exists in his seven-year, $161 million mega-contract.
“I’m here,” Sabathia said. “Hundred percent.”
“I think you know I’ve built a house here, right?” he said. “My kids go to school here. We live here year round. So I’m not going anywhere.”
That is a pretty definitive statement from Sabathia, and good news for the Yankees, who obviously want their magnificent left-hander to stay in The Bronx…
And, now, just six months later, we’re seeing this on the situation (via Joel Sherman):
CC Sabathia has made a subtle shift in tone that could be a preview of a more devastating setback to the Yankees rotation next offseason than the team suffered this offseason with Cliff Lee going to the Phillies and Andy Pettitte retiring.
Sabathia has an opt-out clause in his contract after this season and, in the past, he always definitively said he would not use that clause to negotiate another free-agent contract with either the Yankees or another team.
However, Monday, Sabathia did some dancing around the issue and, for the first time, opened the door that he might deploy the opt-out.
In a mass interview with reporters, Sabathia indicated he would not use the opt out without directly saying so, then shut down further inquiry by saying he was concentrating on this season and repeating the phrase, “I’m here.”
But in a one-on-one conversation with The Post afterward, Sabathia was given a few chances to definitively say he would not opt out — as he had previously — and did not. On one occasion he said, “Anything is possible in a contract.” In another, the big lefty said, “Who knows what is possible, but I am not thinking about anything beyond Opening Day.”
Asked if his agents had advised him to stop saying he would not opt out, Sabathia said, no, he was answering the questions as he saw fit.
So, in one-half of a year, Sabathia’s gone from “I’m here. Hundred percent.” to “Anything is possible in a contract.”
Wow. That’s just wonderful, eh?
Book it now. If CC stays healthy and has a great year, he’s walking. And, when that happens, Brian Cashman will probably be walking too.