After the 2011 season, CC Sabathia will be 31-years-old with four years remaining on his 7-year, $161-million pact with the Yankees.
But he’ll also have the ability to opt out of his contract. ESPN’s Buster Olney (subscription) wonders whether GM Brian Cashman needs to focus on re-signing the large lefty.
It’s similar a similar circumstance to the one we saw in 2007 when Alex Rodriguez actually opted out of the last three years of the richest contract in professional sports – only to sign an even more lucrative deal. Market factors changed, and Rodriguez cashed in.
Though Sabathia recently said he wouldn’t opt out next season, he’d be foolish not to. If a 32-year-old Cliff Lee (102 career wins) signed for 5-years and $120 million this offseason, what would a 31-year-old pitcher closing in on 200 wins earn in the open market next year? We don’t know, but Sabathia should certainly try and find out.
Rather than allowing Sabathia to test the waters, the Yankees should lure Sabathia into an extension right now. Cancel the remaining four years on the deal and sign him to a 5-year $130 million contract that goes into affect in 2012. Sabathia has proved he can perform in the Bronx, and this contract locks him up through age 36. And he gets to regain bragging rights as baseball’s highest paid pitcher after relinquishing that claim to Cliff Lee on Monday.
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