Prior to the 2009 season, CC Sabathia signed a seven-year, $161 million contract with the New York Yankees. But with four years and $92 million still remaining on the contract, Sabathia is expected to walk away from that deal.
That contract is the largest ever given to a pitcher and has the fifth highest total value in Major League history. But it also included an opt-out clause that will allow Sabathia to become a free agent this winter.
Sabathia may be eyeing a new deal similar to what Cliff Lee received last winter from the Philadelphia Phillies. Lee signed a five-year contract worth $120 million. That deal will pay Lee close to $25 million per season over the next five years. Sabathia would make $23 million per season over the next four years if he remains with the Yankees. And Sabathia will be a year younger (31) in 2012 than Lee was (32) in the first year of his deal.
Yankees starting pitchers were fifth in the American League this past season with a 4.03 ERA. But they cannot afford to lose Sabathia, who is 59-23 with a 3.18 ERA (3.27 FIP) in three seasons with the Yankees.
It is hard to imagine walking away from a $92 million guaranteed contract. But as long as the Yankees still need Sabathia, the move could be worth million more to Sabathia.
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