It’s been a long time in coming.
CC Sabathia: the corpulent and benevolent Yankees star did right by the club when he ensured that he’ll be with the Yankees for what’s most likely the rest of his career.
He didn’t do it for the extra $30 million in guaranteed salary.
He did it for the security that he wouldn’t have had with the $92 million he was set to make through 2015.
Who can live on that? How would he rightfully have been expected to function with only four years remaining on his deal? What was he going to do when 2016 beckoned and he was distracted by the prospect of finding work—somewhere—under that cloud of uncertainty?
Well, only in the realm of the ridiculous.
The reactions of idol worship and accolades for Sabathia choosing not to opt-out of his Yankees contract in exchange for what amounts to a contract extension are ludicrous—even for Yankees fans and apologists.
Sabathia used his ability to leave; that the pitching market is relatively thin; a Yankees team that could afford to pay him and couldn’t afford to lose him; and his success in pinstripes to garner a definite $30 million and a likely $50 million.
Sabathia’s current contract pays him $23 million annually through 2015; with the new deal, he’ll receive $25 million for 2016, plus another vesting option for $25 million in 2017 that activates as long as his shoulder is healthy at the end of 2016; plus there’s a $5 million buyout.
So he’s getting at least another $30 million.
Could he have gotten a contract worth $140 million or more on the market?
The Red Sox weren’t going after him; the Phillies weren’t going after him; the Mets weren’t going after him; nor were the Angels, Cardinals, Dodgers, Giants or most other teams that could scrape together an offer in that ballpark.
Where was he going?
Yeah. Have fun over there.
These fantasy notions of Sabathia “understanding the rich tapestry of history in being a Yankee” or other such silliness are missing the point that Sabathia had nowhere else to go to get the kind of money the Yankees were going to pay him and he used the opt-out as a hammer to get it from the Yankees.
CC Sabathia is a great pitcher and good guy. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with what he did; presumably he enjoys pitching in New York and for the Yankees; but to imply that this was something more than a business decision is a Michael Kay-style dreamworld that doesn’t really exist.
Sabathia wanted to get paid.
And he did.
Don’t say that it’s anything more than that, because it isn’t.