CC Sabathia is among the best pitchers in MLB today. He signed a huge contract with the Yankees in the 2008 offseason. The 161 million dollar contract made Sabathia the highest paid pitcher in baseball history. In said contract CC was given an opt out clause after three seasons. Since the middle of last season all indications had been, Sabathia would stay in pinstripes for the foreseeable future.
Today CC made headlines by saying that he has not closed the door on the opt out clause. He told reporters I have no idea [if I will opt out,]" a noticeably lighter Sabathia said in the Yankees clubhouse Monday morning, as pitchers and catchers reported. "It is still in my contract. Anything is possible."
Sabathia still has four years left on his record-breaking contract. To go along with that he also has 90 million dollars on the table if he continues to play in New York. Hank Steinbrenner stated that he thinks Sabathia will stay, "I think he's happy here, and now he really knows what it's like to be a Yankee," Steinbrenner said. "Had another excellent year last year. I think he's here to stay."
So could this just be a ploy to get more money out of the Yankees? Sabathia has had two outstanding seasons in pinstripes so he does have leverage over the Yankee front office. In both of these seasons he has also pitched very well in postseason play. Yet it seems unlikely that at 31, Sabathia could secure another lucrative contract offer.
It would be a serious blow to the Yankees if CC did use the opt out clause. They missed out on Cliff Lee this offseason. Their rotation is already full of question marks, but without their ace left-hander it's hard to see how they could recover.
However, the following ten teams would love to see CC jump the Yankees ship.
The Giants are coming off a world championship in 2010. This was largely due to their tremendous pitching staff headlined by Tim Lincecum. They were hot on the Yankees heels to sign Sabathia in 2008.
Sabathia is from the Bay Area. It would seem almost poetic if he did decided to return home after the 2011 season. The Giants would be waiting with open arms to add him to a rotation that features Lincecum, Cain, and Sanchez. The question is though would CC give them a "hometown discount?"
Giants fans were salivating at the chance to see, Lincecum and Sabathia headline their teams rotation. In 2012 they might just get that chance.
It's not often the Padres are mentioned when a big name free agent is on the market. With the departure of Jon Garland that could all change after 2011. Adrian Gonzalez is gone as well, so the Padres do have some money they could throw at Sabathia.
The Padres pitching was very good last season. If they managed to add Sabathia, San Diego could be the best in the MLB. Despite the lack of offense the Padres managed to put 90 wins on the board last season. With youngsters Mat Latos and Clayton Richard the future looks bright for the Padres. If they were able to acquire Sabathia, they would be the favorites to take the NL West in 2012.
The Angels missed the playoffs for the first time in three seasons in 2010. On top of that they finished under .500, for the first time since 2003. The pitching may have been the least of their worries, but they still lacked the ace, that every team craves. Sabathia is that ace they would love to add.
They have a solid group of pitchers. With names like Weaver, Santana, and Haren they could get back to the playoffs as soon as next season. If Sabathia becomes available he would be a welcomed addition in the Clubhouse and on the field.
It seems Arte Moreno would rather add big name players through trades. This is a big name he shouldn't sleep on if Sabathia does become available.
Bobby Cox said his goodbyes, after the Braves were eliminated in the NLDS last season. His Braves of the mid-late 90's were famous for their vaunted rotation. With an addition of CC Sabathia they'd be well on their way to recreating that rotation.
Tim Hudson had a resurgence of sorts last season. He lead the braves in ERA and wins, which could be a good sign for Atlanta. The Braves also feature very good young arms like Tommy Hanson and Jair Jurrjens. Both of these pitchers have great futures ahead of them, as long as they stay healthy.
The addition of Sabathia might put the Braves in position for another long postseason run.
How do you stick it to the Yankees? Sign away their best pitcher to go across town. The Mets thought they had their guy in 2007. They traded for Johan Santana, and thought they were getting the guy to finally get them to the World Series. That hasn't worked out; Santana has struggled to stay healthy since coming to New York.
When he has pitched the results have been mixed at best. There are times Johan looks like the guy who dominated batters for the better part of six seasons. Then there are times he looks like a shell of his former self and gets rocked on the mound.
Sabathia has made the transition to New York almost seamless. If he does get added to the Mets roster, he could be the guy to push them to the top.
The Nationals are building a solid nucleus for their future. Bryce Harper, and Stephen Strasburg headline an impressive group of young players. Strasburg made a big impact in his first big league season. He is coming off Tommy John surgery and might miss all of 2011. When he does comeback there will be many questions about his health.
The Nationals have a few other names that could turn out to be big stars in the future. Jordan Zimmerman is growing fast in the starting pitchers role. He has all the tools to become a solid starter in the MLB for years to come. John Lannan is looking to rebound after a bad 2010. As of right now the future is very bright for the Nationals. Sabathia could bring their future closer if he does sign with Washington.
An addition of Sabathia could have this team in the playoffs for years to come.
The Reds are one of the most well rounded teams in the MLB. They have a loaded offense, solid starting pitching and a very good bullpen which made them sucessful in 2010. With another year under their belts the Reds pitching looks to continue moving forward.
Sabathia could make their solid pitching staff even better. Volquez and Cueto are still being molded into Major League starting pitchers. It seems that as they go so go the Reds. This means that the Reds are putting a lot of pressure on the young guys to carry their pitching staff.
Adding Sabathia could relieve some of that pressure. Sabathia is a veteran of the MLB and could tutor the young guys on how to become better pitchers.
The Cubs are among the tops in Baseball in payroll. Yet year in and year out they continue to disappoint their fans. They always seem to be far from the playoff picture by September. One of their biggest holes is their rotation. Their bullpen is fine, but their rotation is among the worst in the MLB.
The Cubs can only hope that Sabathia does become available and soon. He would be going from one historic franchise to another in the Cubs. The bigger factor though, is the fact that Sabathia would give the Cubs a Solid No.1 starter that they've lacked for a very long time.
It didn't seem all that long ago, that names like Prior and Wood were destined to lead Chicago to the World Series. After their careers were derailed the Cubs have struggled.
Sabathia took the "long suffering" Yankees fans back to the world series in 2009. Why couldn't he do it, with a Cubs franchise looking for their first championship in over 100 years?
Seattle seemed like a team on the verge of a breakout season. When they traded for Cliff Lee in the offseason of 2009, they looked to have a solid 1-2 punch at the top of their rotation. That didn't work out in any way, shape, or form.
The Mariners turned in a horrible 2010, finishing last in their division. Lee started the season on the DL and was eventually traded to the AL West champion Texas Rangers. The lone bright spot for the Mariners in 2010 was the performance of their young phenom. Félix Hernández continued to show why the Mariners are so high on him.
Hernández has proven himself, as a top starting pitcher in the Major Leagues. He is simply overpowering when he gets on the mound. He has an uncanny knack for keeping the ball on the ground as well as keeping hitters off balance.
The Mariners need a solid compliment to Hernández. Sabathia would be more than that, if he did sign in Seattle.
The Dodgers are another team with a solid core of young pitchers. Kershaw, and Billingsley are coming into their own in the MLB. The back of their rotation is full of holes though. Their bullpen is also very unreliable. If they were to add Sabathia the rest could fix itself. CC always seems to log a lot of innings when he starts.
Sabathia could move from one big city to another. He's already taken New York by storm, so performing Los Angeles might seem easy. The Dodgers front office is a mess right now. They seem very hesitant to spend money to get the pieces the team needs to produce wins.
However, should Sabathia become available the front office would be able to work out their differences quite quickly, and sign him.