Picking up on the big news of the day, SI.com’s Jon Heyman reports that C.C. Sabathia is about to sign with the Yankees. Over at Fox, Ken Rosenthal says the deal is for seven years, $160 million.
Man, I was looking for George Clinton’s “Chocolate City” on You Tube but it wasn’t available. And to think I’ve been waiting on that one for weeks. Dag.
This will have to do:
well good - glad he is supposedly going to sign and that's over with.
now let's hope he gives top production for most of the contract.
but wow, that picture really gives a glimpse as to just how thick his midsection is.
sounds like he/his agents go the yanks to throw 20million more on top of the initial offer.
that heyman article is a bit scary though - two of lowe, burnett, sheets - who all want multi year deals and two of whom have an injury history and one is old. i could take one of them, with burnett ranked last.
plus andy, though there is no mention of andy - who all likilhood just requires a one year deal.
but i would prefer at least some offense being added.
Sweet, now lets finish up with Sheets, sign Andy, withdraw the offers for Burnett & Lowe, and go get Tex, or at least Dunn.
What a relief!
 AFAIK, the Yanks haven't made an offer to Burnett yet - though his agent is running around saying the Yanks are very interested. Sounds like Negotiating 101 to me - Burnett has only 1 offer on the table, from Atlanta: what better way to try to get more cash from them, or spur other teams into make similar offers so as to drive up the price, than saying "Oh the Yanks are VERY interested"?
I don't think Burnett is going to sign with the Yanks.
I very much agree with you on the Tex/Dunn part though. More offense please!
wow. i can't wait for the press conference. that jersey is going to be HUGE.
priority one has been secured.
fingers crossed on sheets now.
ca$hman gets his man. i am excited.
At 7 years/$160mn, the Yankees are certainly taking a big risk, but if not for a 27 year old lefty coming off three excellent seasons, than for whom? Ironically, the seventh year actually lowers the ACV of the deal from $23.33mn to $22.86mn, but the length of the deal is still impressive. Hopefully, the deal does not include an opt out, which would lessen the potential upside of the deal.
Again, even though it is an expensive acquisition, signing Sabathia was a must. Unless and/or until Joba fully develops, there simply was not a dominant ace on the Yankee horizon. Now, the Yankees have one in the hand and one in the bush. Also, had they not landed Sabathia, the decision to not trade for Sanatana would have been called into further question, at least in my mind. What made holding onto Hughes more palatable was the looming free agency of Sabathia. With C.C. and Hughes both in the fold, it is a lot easier to consider last year’s decision a wise one.
With the top-2 starters now in place, the Yankees still have a lot of work to do. I think it is pretty clear that they will make one more signing and possibly two out of the quartet of Lowe/Burnett/Pettitte/Sheets and then let youth be served in the fifth slot. If I was calling the shots, I would consider Joba/Hughes as one pitcher. In fact, I would have them split the same game. That would keep their innings around 130, while hopefully giving the Yankees a very effective starter. Because Joba/Hughes would hopefully graduate to being full time pitchers in 2010, the short-term deals of Sheets and Pettitte seem ideal to me. The Yankees would also save more money going that route, which perhaps could allow them to aggressively pursue Teixeira, Manny or even Dunn.
I'm happy for Cashman for a job well done.
But I'm left wondering if C.C. (and his missus) won't be pining for California at some point.
I guess money can take care of that .... again.
I thought C.C. was, for lack of a better word, "better" than that.
Then again, maybe those Cal. team offers never really did come to fruition.
Is this for real? No ploy. He is signing. Because this would be great news.
 I am not sure if turning down $60mn makes a man better, but something tells me that if Sabathia could survive his first 6 years in Cleveland, he'll manage to get by in New York.
 Top 3 starters at least, we still have that guy Chien-Ming Wang, remember? The length of this deal frightens me. Last year he started off very slow because of arm issues, I actually anticipate that this year. However, if this deal prevents us from signing Burnett, or Lowe to anything more than 2 years I'm for it. I think the move now is to sign Sheets and/or Pettitte. Short deals, higher risk, high potential upside.
Of course, what I really wish they'd do is what they should have all along and go after Tex, but I'm beating a dead horse there.
 Agree except that the Yanks do have a lot of young pitching in the pipeline, which is one reason to shy away from long term deals for AJ and Lowe. Sheets for 2 + an option, Andy for 1, gives Joba (or a Joba/Hughes hydra) a slot this year, Hughes one next year, and some other guy like Z-Mac/Betances/Brackman (or, hell, John Lackey) a slot the year after. All those young farmhands have the potential to equal or maybe even better AJ/Lowe (OK, maybe not Z-Mac), so lets leave some flexibility for the cream to rise to the bigs.
 "I guess money can take care of that …. again. I thought C.C. was, for lack of a better word, “better” than that."
Huh? Why should location trump money? And if the media reports were correct, CC was choosing between M'wake and NYC, not San Fran and NYC. I just don't get this sentiment that while us regular people seek situations (locales, jobs, salaries) that work best for us, ballplayers are supposed to have some alternate utility structure. The guy decided that he'd rather be mega rich and in NYC than be medium rich and in CA (if even that was an option). And there's something wrong with that?
Well, he survived those 6 years in Cleveland because he pitched well enough for the Indians to want to hold onto him, and free agency wasn't available to him.
This is his first chance to decide where he wants to work and continue to raise his family. And after all the press about him having strong feelings towards going back to California, it "appears" that money won out.
 I don't know if I would consider Wang an "ace", but he is definitely a very good pitcher. If he is your rotation's third best arm, well, then you are in good shape.
While Sabathia did have a miserable April, he was excellent in every month following. Pitchers are allowed to have a bad handful of starts. The fact that it happened in April rather than September is more comforting than alarming.
Nothing about the Sabathia deal (or a Lowe/Burnett/Sheets deal) should preclude the Yankees from going after Teixeira. So much money has come off the books, that there should definitely be room in the budget. I think the bigger concern by the Yankees is spending so much money on a position that should be the easiest to fill, relatively speaking. By this time next year, the entire Yankee outfield will need to be overhauled (Matsui, Damon and Nady will likely all be gone). With no CF'er currently on the roster, the Yankees will likely be in a position (and need) to spend big bucks on the outfield. Having Tex locked into 1B at $20mn per could make that more difficult.
what is the general feeling on the potential 4 year/$66M deal heyman says they're closing in on w/lowe?
i'd so much rather we grabbed sheets for 2 years.
Let me clarify my comments by stating that the "rooting fan" in me is happy he'll be pitching in NY, but the "sociological / social science" part of me is a bit disappointed.
 agree with everything you have written today (and it's good to see someother great minds agree that we need to focus on some offense and short term deals for sheets and andy should suffice on the pitching front).
in particular your statement on cc about money,location etc.
first, it doesn't even seem a ca team ever even got in on the sweepstakes.
but to me keith law hit it dead on in a chat last week. why do we begrudge these guys money? for the most part they have worked very hard for this money. even though baseball is not as physical demanding as other sports, it still requires a lot of hard physical work. a helluva lot more work than some guy who inherited his father's money or team.
that might take the edge off for your sociological/social science concerns.
he will be able to help a lot of people.
 Aside from Joba and Hughes, who else is really in the pipeline as a starter? Maybe the Yankees do have more arms coming, but I think it is a bit much to expect the team to wind up developing 3+ starters in a 5 year span when they probably haven't done that in the last 25 years. In particular, Betances and Brackman are way too far from the majors to project, and certainly can't be expected to provide the same performance as Lowe and Burnett over at least the next 2-3 years.
 Fair enough, but I am not sure why a rich baseball player deciding to allow an even richer baseball owner keep more money is a sign of sociological progress. Maybe I could begin to see your point if C.C. opted to leave Cleveland, but we are talking about teams for whom he has never even played.
A few stats from a previous thread:
i) Last year, with Wang out, Joba injured, and a cast of thousands, we had a better ERA then in 2007
2) Our fielding Independent ERA (FIP) was 3rd in the AL
3) Our FIP was better then Boston's and TB's.
4) We LOST 22 games where we held the opposition to 4 runs or less. TWENTY TWO! If we win just 1/3 of those games, we finish ahead of Boston
Now we have CC replacing Moose. A (hopefully) healthier Wang (hold the jokes) and hopefully a healthier and more mature Joba. I would like the 4th guy to be Andy.
So.... I believe the 2009 rotation SHOULD BE far superior to the 2008 rotation. Certainly, it is one of the better ritations in the AL.
With Hughes, IPK and a cast of pitching thousands on the farm, and assuming we have CC, aren't our issues... espcially in 2010 and 2011, POSITION PLAYERS who can field?
Considering over the next few years there WILL be SPs to be had via FA or trade, IF we need them, should we be commiting to 5 years of AJ or Lowe???
I'm sorry... considering we have CC, and looking at the farm, I think Tex would be way way WAY more valuable then AJ or Lowe.
Our infielders ALL make many bad throws to first.
Tex in front of (or behind) ARod in the batting order is a powerful 1-2. Between age and injury, the odds of Tex staying productive over AJ or Lowe must be like 100 to 1.
In CC, Wang and Joba, we have an A+, A- and A- first three.
Andy should be one of the better #4s in the AL
Phil, IPK, AA, Coke, (another name here), a mide season trade...
makes for a killer SP staff.
Our pitching, with CC, is WELL above average.
Our offense MIGHT be, but it could be just a little above average.
Even with Swish/Nady instead of Abreu/Giambi, or D is still BELOW average. And this assumes Posada can catch. If he can't, our O takes a big hit.
Why oh why oh WHY risk $80m on AJ or Lowe, when Tex MIGHT be had????
 Lowe*Yanks porous IF defense + pitching in the AL East not the NL West = HUGE nightmare
In other words, let's hope like heck that Lowe is not on the horizon. Unless Tex is signing too.
 The Yankees defense with regard to Lowe does worry me a bit, but it has never seemed to hurt Wang (unless Wang could actually be much better??). What's more, I fully expect a defensive rebound by Cano and improved defense at 1B (Swisher is very good there, as is Tex should he be signed).
Except for 2004, Lowe has been pretty successful as a starter in every year of his career. Even though the money does sound a bit much, he would be an effective starter. Basically, I think the question becomes Burnett's stuff versus Lowe's durability. With C.C. on board, I think the Yankees are in a position where they can afford to take on one risk. That pretty much means Lowe and Sheets or Burnett and Pettitte.
7 years/ $160 mil is a bit much. Even the sixth year is a risk. But quite frankly, CC is the premier pitcher out there and thus he's got the leverage. The capitalist in me says "way to go CC!"
Looks pretty good. And I'd rather overpay for CC than pay for A.J. That deal has too much of a Pavano tint to it.
 The issue with Lowe isn't money its years. He's what, 36 years old right now? I was all for Lowe back when I thought he'd be available on a 2 year deal. I even suggested overpaying in terms of dollars to keep the years down. Lowe for 4-5 years is a mistake. At this point I'd take a flier on Sheets if we really *must* sign another pitcher. The downside to that move is that he gets hurt, but then you have all of our pitching depth to fill in here and there. The upside is we get a Cy Young quality ace on a short term deal. To me, that's way better than watching Lowe pitch for us when he's 40 years old. I've seen enough of that.
Still, we should be all about Tex here. This team has one position prospect in the high minors. One! Next year Matsui, Damon and Nady are gone. I get that people don't want to overpay for a 1B, but this isn't just an average 1B, he's a superstar level player who also happens to be one of the best fielders at his position and he's in his prime. If not, this team needs to sign Dunn and park him at 1B and then DH when Matsui leaves.
No George Clinton, but Zapp & Roger'll have to do in a pinch
I knew going super negative on the team would work. Anytime I do my piss and vinegar rants they immediately prove me wrong.
If the Yankees sign CC, Sheets & Andy, would they go with this rotation:
Putting Joba back in the pen as the setup man (waiting in the wings to come back to the rotation if someone gets injured)?
I know that Joba in the pen is not a popular option around here, but that rotation having to only pitch a six inning game looks pretty good to me.
 Lowe has been pretty good over the past 4 years or so. I think that deserves some consideration. Unless a sudden drop-off is coming, I think he can be productive on a 4 year deal.
As for Tex, yes, I think the Yankees should also pursue him, but again, money probably isn't the issue. While Teixeira has emerged as a superstar hitter, 1B is still one of the easiet positions to fill (as evidenced by your Dunn comment). The Yankees focus on offense needs to be finding outfielders who are well above average with both the glove and the bat. Ultimately, that seems to be the best way to build a championship team. Even though Tex does provide instant gratification, I am not sure if he is the panacea so many are making him out to be.
 I like my idea about having Joba and Hughes split one game in rotation, but that probably would be how things would wind up.
 why do we begrudge these guys money? for the most part they have worked very hard for this money.
Not only that, given the contract, it appears that CC was underpaid his other years in the league...
 Exactly...I think everyone would sign up immediately if Sabathia pitched like he did over the past three seasons. Therefore, it stands to reason that the Indians saved about $42mn for Sabathia's services. Isn't that enough of a discount?
C.C. deserves every penny that he earns. It is great to have him on the team. I worry about his weight though. For his own health along with his extending this career. I hope that the Yankees had a serious talk to him about it and will continue to do so.
Giddyup. Now let's get Sheets and Pet and call it a day on pitching. Then go get Tex.
 i agree. i have read, maybe in an si article a year or two ago, that he said he has worked hard to keep his weight where it was then (not sure if he has gained weight in the last year or so) - but in his family almost everyone has serious weight issues - so hopefully he is at least as healthy as he can be as far as what he eats and workouts.
 this seems to be the prevailing sentiment of most posters here - with a few exceptions most of us would be happy for the yanks to get sheets and pettitte and tex. anyone have any thoughts beyond cashman is an idiot as to why this doesn't seem to be the plan?
william touched on the idea that maybe the yanks want a outfileder that can hit/field, which makes me wonder if they will go after holliday (or maybe crawford) next year and don't want to spend that much on a bat this year.
heyman is saying that hank wants manny.
that upsets me, almost as much as the line about him not "giving a hoot" about manny's hair.
( http://www.fannation.com/si_blogs/hot_stove/posts/30845 )
donnie had to trim and manny wouldn't? where is the justice?
 Yes, Lowe has been pretty good the last 4 years - pitching in a pitcher's park in the worst division in the vastly inferior NL (that includes two other incredible pitcher's parks in SD and SF). And with an excellent defense behind him: Defensive Efficiency when Lowe pitched of .705 in 2008; .708 in 2007; .707 in 2006; .714 in 2005. Lowe is durable yes, and his numbers look good. But let's not forget their context, and especially what the fielding behind him did.
Wang's success, to me, is as much about not giving up HRs as anything else. Besides that, in 2006 and 2007, the Yanks were surprisingly good in terms of Defensive Efficiency (2nd in AL, 8th in MLB in 2006; 5th in AL, 13th in MLB in 2007). Not surprisingly, that's when Cano AND Jeter were both playing good to great defense. (Jeter set career highs in RATE, RATE2, FRAR and FRAA in 2006.) Cano returning to his defensive success I can see; Jeter I am suspicious about, because of his age.
I think my preference is Sheets, Pettitte, Burnett, Lowe.
 I would absolutely love to get Manny, especially if its for only 2-3 years. Having he and Arod anchor the lineup would be more than enough fire power to tide the Yankees over until they can revamp the outfield.
 I think they've gotten religion about starting pitching. Perhaps they've gotten too much religion though...
 ERA+ accounts for most of those factors, and by that standard, Lowe has still been well above average. The defense question is valid, but as I mentioned, the Yankees can expect better fielding this season.
I think Lowe and Pettitte give you a likely 200 innings, while Burnett and Sheets give you potential dominance. I think you could take one from Column A and another from Column B. I would prefer Sheets to Burnett, but see Lowe versus Pettitte as a toss up.
 lowe vs. pettitte might be a wash except that lowe would get a 3 or 4 year commitment, where pettitte would only be a year.
i would rather have pettitte under those circumstances.
 Length definitely works in favor of Pettitte, but performance goes to Lowe (his ERA+ over the past three seasons has been much better). Also, Lowe is a year younger, so you can kind of lop one year off the deal for a better comparison. What's more, you could make the case that having Lowe under control for 3 additional years would give the Yankees more stability. Basically, I think Lowe and Burnett should be mutually exclusive. Committing to two 4/5-year deals (aside from Sabathia) would probably not be the best idea.
sorry if someone has posted this - but i saw on mlbtr and then went to the original source on yahoo that there is an opt out after 3 years - which these yahoo guys are claiming to be the reason cc signed - i know gordon edes is a boston guy, so who knows about the conjecture.
If Sabathia opts out after 3 years, according to this writeup by Cliff, the Yanks should be okay.
Though things look sparse at the major league level right now, the Yankees are simply awash in pitching from an organizational perspective. An overenthusiastic effort to sign several big-money free agent starters to long-term contracts this winter will serve only to stifle the cheap, team-controlled talent set to arrive in the near future.
And that article doesn’t count whatever arms are drafted in 2009, or any Int’l FA’s that are signed. Can’t rule out any trades made, or FA’s available at the time.
 Given how well Lowe's defense played behind him, and just how bad the NL West in particular is, I tend to discount ERA+ because its relative to league average. NL average <<< AL average.
I do notice that Lowe's FIP and xFIP are both pretty good, but I continue to wonder about the switch between leagues.
 If there is an opt-out, I take that as wonderful news. Because then maybe they'd be willing to give one to Tex, in which case he'd be foolish not to sign with the Yanks (and Boras will definitely like that). Tex back on the market in 3 years, at 31? He'd make a huge killing.
 The opt out is really just an opportunity cost (albeit one that could be important in three years). Basically, C.C. would only excercise it if he pitched very well over the next three years, which would be a good thing for the Yankees in the short-term. Of course, if he was to be injured or flop, he'd stick around, which is what would have happened with or without the opt out. So, the Yankees are taking on the risk of the long-term contract without the reward of him pitching well for all 7 years (unless he does that, but doesn't opt out).
 Yup my analysis precisely. In the grand scheme of things though I don't hate the opt out.
 You can definitely downgrade ERA+ a tick because of the league disparity, but Lowe's performance has been good enough to still suggest that he has been an above average major league pitcher.
 In a way, opt outs might be the next big thing in persuasive negotiations. Because MLB players have guaranteed deals, the only risks they assume are opportunity costs (i.e., damn, I could have made more money). Giving them opt outs would essentially remove even that risk. What's more, because the Yankees will always be able to pay more money, the chances of another team outbidding them would be remote (although, as with Arod, the Yankees have shown a willingness to bid against themselves).
Right, exactly. The opt-out in and of itself sucks. Its not a good thing, but in the long run, it doesn’t hurt or make the contract a bad one per se. We’ll be stuck hearing about it for the first three years, but so be it.
After three years, the odds of someone offering a 31 year old CC 5-6 years at OVER $25M/year is highly, highly doubtful.
Either CC will opt out because he simply wants to go to a WC team or because he wants the Yanks to add an addition two years, giving him another 6 or so year contract at $25M/year.
Or, he won’t opt out, realizing that 4 years at $92M is the best he will get for his 31-34 years with lots of mileage on his hefty arm.
Any of those three options don’t really hurt the Yankees all that much. If in three years they haven’t developed the farm system more/given themselves enough depth, its their own damn fault.
Yeowza. Reports now saying we're close with Lowe: 4 years, 66 million AND still pursuing AJ and Sheets with the goal of signing one of the last two. Are we really going to sign THREE free agent starters AND Pettitte? Or is Andy gone?
Also (and sorry for the multiple posts) I wonder if all this makes Andy a little more willing to bend on his price.
1) He won't want to be the last guy standing when the Yanks FA signing music stops.
2) He should be more optimistic for success with the way we're stacking the rotation.
 What about Andy?! indeed!
Hopefully that jazz is just trying to apply leverage to AJ/Sheets/Lowe (sign now or one of the other guys will!) I would hate to have so many long term pitching contracts - they better not have NTCs!
 Hmmm...that could mean the end of Andy, or, the Yankees plan to give Joba another go around in the pen, while having Hughes start the year in AAA and be on the ready for the first break down (and one is usually inevitable).
I think this is the Yanks saying to Andy (and the Hendricks brothers):
We offered you $10M. You want $16M.
We know you want to play for us, and open the New Staidum, badly.
Either take the $10M now or you're going to be on the outside looking in.
  Well, a rotation of CC, Wang, Lowe, Sheets/Pettitte, and Joba is pretty good. And lets be honest, the chances of Pettitte/Sheets getting injured is really really high.
I imagine that they are planning on going with Joba as the 5 man and Hughes in AAA to continue to work.
On the other hand, and not that I advocate it, that does, "in theory," open up Hughes to be traded for one Jaake Peavey. Wouldn't a rotation of CC, Peavey, Wang, Lowe, and Joba be super awesome?
But again, I don't think that's the case.
This IS exciting!!
But, is anyone else not looking forward to 2015, when we'll have a 40-year old A-Rod and 33 year-old CC making $55 million??
 Actually, make that closer to $60 million.....
 or will they trade a SP? hughes maybe?
not that i want that to happen, mind you.
Besides, if the contract becomes an albatross, the player gets moved. Mike Hampton didn't finish his contract with the Rockies, Denny Neagle didn't finish his contract with the Rays.
 thankfully, justice doesn't require consistency with past absurdity
 Except that I think few teams are going to be willing to take on even a substantial part of such a contract if CC beaches himself.
However, I don't think the economy is going to be in such a good shape that anyone (maybe Boston or LA) is going to pay CC more than what he's going to be making. And if the Yankees are in the midst of another WS dynasty, would he really want to move?
william, it's true that the Yankees will need some good major-league outfielders, and that first base is (or at least should be) a relatively easy position to fill.
But it's that bat in the middle of the lineup that Teixeira provides, and is likely to provide pretty reliably for quite a few years. Finding outfielders becomes easier if you're looking for guys who can hit 6-7 in the lineup rather than 3-5. Dunn would really be the only alternative, but Teixeira's considerably better (especially if you count defense, even at 1B). I expect that gap to widen in a few years.
Having Teixeira and Rodriguez batting 3-4 would solve a lot of problems for a long time. It's expensive, but a good long-term investment. There aren't going to be any FA outfielders that good in the immediate future.
And I'll add: with CC in the fold, I think the offense is now a bigger problem than the pitching. That's especially true if you look beyond this year - and isn't that what the Cashman regime is supposed to be about?
Does fielding count? Below are some 2007 numbers.
FIP = Fielding Independent ERA
J.Santana -- FIP 3.71, ERA 3.14
C.M. Wang - FIP 3.76, ERA 3.82
A. Pettitte -- FIP 3.70, ERA 3.93
So pitching in a defense neutral environment, Andy and Wang were basically the same pitcher as Santana (in 2007)
Point was if the Yankees want to move him, they will. They will either eat salary, or take on another problem contract in return, or package something of value with Sabathia.
 I think they’ve gotten religion about starting pitching. Perhaps they’ve gotten too much religion though…
Why do I detect a "Buddha Belly" reference there? >;)
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