• Sabathia’s Position Change Regarding His Opt-Out Clause

    Posted by on February 15th, 2011 · Comments (12)

    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.

    Comments on Sabathia’s Position Change Regarding His Opt-Out Clause

    1. K-V-C
      February 15th, 2011 | 2:57 pm

      If he opts-out, not only would I let him walk, I wouldn’t even negotiate with him. You are a Yankee or your not. The Yankees made a huge mistake resigning A-Roid, and I would let him go. No way would I give the guy more money. Bring up the young guys, I am so sick and tired of reading about millionaires wanting more and more money.

    2. Raf
      February 15th, 2011 | 5:34 pm

      Don’t want a player to opt out? Don’t include the clause in the contract.

      If CC opts out, good for him. If he finds a better deal, good for him. I’d probably do the same thing if I were him.

    3. February 15th, 2011 | 8:18 pm

      If he opts out, he opts out. The Yankees got what they wanted out of the deal a championship in 2009, I have no regrets. After this year he has 4 more years at 96 million, if that’s not good enough, I wouldn’t even make an offer. The question I have is this, are the reporters covering the team going to turn this into a season long soap opera, “As The CC Turns”.

    4. KPOcala
      February 15th, 2011 | 9:37 pm

      I agree, CC can walk. He very well could be a great pitcher for 3-5 years, but if I had to bet my life, nope.

    5. GDH
      February 16th, 2011 | 11:56 am

      Interesting takes. I have always regarded these opt-out clauses as one-sided in favor of the player. However, as long as the organization doesn’t pull a knee-jerk panic like they did with A-Rod and offer even more money, they (kind of) work for the organization in that they provide a built-in greed-o-meter. If the player is planning on pursuing too much money, they can let him walk, gaining essentially a short term deal for a player in his prime and avoiding the more risky years of a long-term deal.

      The “as-long-as” caveat above, however is a big one, especially with an impatient ownership group like the Yankees have.

    6. Corey Italiano
      February 16th, 2011 | 1:07 pm

      I really don’t think the Yankees can just let him walk…barring a breakout year from one or two of the Yankee minor league pitchers, the Yanks rotation would be atrocious without Sabathia.

    7. February 16th, 2011 | 1:32 pm

      Corey Italiano wrote:

      I really don’t think the Yankees can just let him walk…barring a breakout year from one or two of the Yankee minor league pitchers, the Yanks rotation would be atrocious without Sabathia.

      Dude, come July, you just might see how atrocious it is this year – even with Sabathia.

    8. Raf
      February 16th, 2011 | 2:59 pm

      Steve Lombardi wrote:

      Dude, come July, you just might see how atrocious it is this year – even with Sabathia.

      I don’t think it’ll be worse than 2004

    9. LMJ229
      February 16th, 2011 | 3:24 pm

      This is the way I see it playing out: Sabathia will opt out and the Yankees will re-sign him to an even larger contract, similar to the one they were offering Cliff Lee (7yrs, $160M range).

      Basically, it will be the same as what they did with A-Rod. Let’s face it, Sabathia would be foolish not to opt out, that’s exactly what his agent put the opt out clause in there for. And the Yankees will be desperate given their current state of starting pitching.

      The Yankees are in a no win situation with this one assuming CC stays healthy and continues to pitch to his current capabilities.

    10. Corey Italiano
      February 16th, 2011 | 5:51 pm

      @ Steve Lombardi:
      I honestly don’t think it’ll be that bad…

      Consider this, Andy Pettitte’s last start before he got hurt was on July 18th. His next start after that was on September 19. The Yankees record during that span? 32-25. Put that over 162 games, and you have roughly a 91 win team. I think we can all agree that the Yankees played pretty sloppily over that span, yet they would be a borderline playoff team with that kind of play.

      Add in the fact that Cashman will most certainly make a midseason trade for a quality starting pitcher (his job may depend on it), and I still like our chances.

    11. Scout
      February 17th, 2011 | 6:11 am

      If I had to bet on it today, I would predict he will opt out and the Yankees will pay more to re-sign him. He is the staff ace, with no immediate successor, and this team is designed in a win-now mode for the next couple of years. The money spent on A-Rod, Jeter, Tex, and Mo, among others, would be wasted if the starting pitching cannot keep the team in the play-off hunt every year.

    12. LMJ229
      February 17th, 2011 | 9:30 pm

      @ Scout:
      I agree totally. You should lay that bet today.

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