Is it lip service that the reigning Cy Young Award winner is paying to the Cleveland Indians?
Or is it simply the truth?
C.C. Sabathia arrived at the Indians facilities in Winter Haven backed with some rather startling news for the city of Cleveland.
Pitchers and catchers reported last Thursday, and as the day started, news broke of the statement posted on Sabathia's website.
Part of Sabathia's statement read, "At this time, we haven't been able to reach agreement. Now that the reporting date for Spring Training is here, it is time to put aside contract discussions so that I can focus all of my energies and attention on preparing for the upcoming season."
He maintains that the short period of time after the season and before free agency, talks can resume in order to attempt to reach an extension.
But how much faith can the Tribe fan base put into that statement?
Sabathia went on to say that he wouldn't be making any further comment on the situation beyond this statement.
Hold the phone; he's already changing his mind.
Possibly within the next week, Sabathia will talk contract with the reporters "once and only once".
Stop me if you've heard this before.
It may not be the same implications or words thrown around, but it is starting to resemble the situation that was displayed last year with Cubs ace Carlos Zambrano.
When all was said and done, Zambrano signed an extension that was considered friendly, when considering recent pitcher deals like the one Barry Zito received.
Sabathia is a different position, has said different things, and most importantly is nothing like the hefty Venezuelan.
In fact the only things that are really similar between the two are their body type and ability to throw gas.
What exactly am I getting at then by bringing up Zambrano?
It's simple, Zambrano wanted to be with the Chicago Cubs.
In the end, that's what mattered to him and that's why he signed the contract he did. It wasn’t a mega deal, but it met his standards.
When it boils down to it, it isn't about money or contract length. It comes down to values and which ones does Sabathia have.
He has given the media the run around on how he wants to be in Cleveland and how it has become his second home. But does he really mean it?
I've given him the benefit of the doubt, and will continue to. I think he does genuinely love the city that he has spent his entire major league career in. However, we are going to find out for real.
The Indians will not short change him. Johan Santana's deal is a lot closer to the twenty million a year we thought he would get. The proposed Sabathia contract is around eighteen million.
The ball is in C.C.'s court, and it's time to find out what he is made of.
When push comes to shove, he might get that extra year, but in the end we will find out just how much he does love Cleveland.
When the final out is recorded in the 2008 Major League Baseball season, that will be the only thing that really matters.