Friday, March 07, 2008

Sí Sí, CC

Since I’m not a big follower of Rick Bauer's career, I'm having a little trouble getting into these early Spring Training games (though I did sit and watch the one against the Braves on DVR – with a 15-month-old with an ear infection on my lap – when they were nearly one-hit), I thought I'd provide some links on a situation that has barely been touched on…the C.C. contract situation!

While it’s not quite Sunday yet, both of them come via Sports Illustrated, first from Jon Heyman. A lot of it is items that have been addressed here (seemingly ad nauseum) or are quotes that would be expected from both parties, but it does provide some new information.
The highlights:

The Indians, whom he loves, this winter offered a four-year extension believed to be worth close to $20 million a year, which would have bumped his contract to five years and about $90 million. Meanwhile, Sabathia, who is to make $11.25 million this year, is thought to be seeking a significantly longer deal at $100 million-plus, exactly the sort of contract that would stretch the Indians' budget, which has been cleverly kept to the lower end of the mid-market range.

That’s a higher number than has been reported by the local media and translates into an extension in the range of four years and an extra $78.75M to get it close to the $90M number over the five years of the deal.
$18M per for 5 years? Sounds about right.

What’s interesting is that the $100M-plus number that Heyman references could only come in a contract that would run longer than 5 years…nothing to be surprised at, but interesting that it’s finally being reported correctly.
But whatever transpired in talks with Sabathia's representatives back in December seemed to convince some intimates that his chances to remain beyond this season are less than exceptional. Someone connected to the Indians lamented to me shortly after those talks in December, "No way he stays.''

Again, nothing too surprising, outside of the admission of someone in the organization that neither side will acquiesce to the demands of the other, meaning they’re two years apart (at least) in terms of the length of the deal.

Assuming the Indians can't bridge the gap of millions to keep him beyond this season, here are the three most likely landing spots, according to Heyman:
1. Yankees. Long seen as the most logical destination for Sabathia, the big reason they balked at Santana was their reluctance to part with top pitching prospects Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy. Since it'll only cost them money (and draft choices), and Mike Mussina, Carl Pavano, Jason Giambi and Andy Pettitte could be coming off the books, they remain the favorite. A perfect replacement in case this is Pettitte's last year, a real possibility.
2. Dodgers. They can afford Sabathia, and they have a some age and injury questions in their rotation.
3. Giants. Pitching isn't their problem. And they already sunk $126 million into a left-hander (Zito). But they have the wherewithal and desire to win, and perhaps Sabathia has a hankering to go home.

For some reason, the Dodgers have always struck me as his most likely destination (sorry, for me it’s no longer Cleveland) due to the proximity to his home, his ability to hit in the NL (don’t ask me why I think this is important to him), and the fact that the Dodgers could certainly be looking to make the splash in Free Agency at some point that has been reserved in LA for the Angels.
Then again, maybe I'm just trying not to think of him in pinstripes.

The other piece that appears in this week’s print edition of SI, Ben Reiter contributes this piece about C.C. and the contract situation. Like Heyman’s piece, not too much is added but Reiter’s article puts a nice little ribbon on the whole situation and presents it fairly and accurately (despite quoting Paul Hoynes’ already infamous “Seven-Eleven line”). Although Reiter has different contract proposal information then Heyman (I believe Heyman on this, who seems a little more in tune with some sources), he examines why Sabathia may end up staying when it’s all said and done:
Shapiro could just be in denial, but perhaps he's not. He is looking ahead to a deep free-agent market for pitchers next year, possibly including John Lackey, Ben Sheets, Brad Penny, Rich Harden, A.J. Burnett, Oliver Perez, Derek Lowe, John Smoltz and Pedro Martinez, and that might hold down Sabathia's price. Another reason for Cleveland to hope, says one mid-market general manager, is that the Santana deal was an exceptional case. The price the Mets paid for the finest talent of this generation won't necessarily realign the broader market. "C.C. is one of the best young starting pitchers in the game, and he's going to get paid a lot of money," the G.M. says, "but there are not a lot of teams that want to spend $20 million a year for one player."

Maybe the Indians know the market better than we think. Perhaps they are aware of what C.C. may be looking at in terms of offers and feel that what they’re throwing out there is in line with what awaits him. I think that list of potential Free Agents is more relevant than people think, particularly if the Indians part ways with Sabathia. The likes of Lackey or Penny could slot below Sabathia and could be obtainable by the Indians, freed from the contractual commitments to Sabathia and Paul Byrd.

The other part of the article that I absolutely love:
Also on Cleveland's side is that the team's immediate future is bright. The Indians' other stars, including centerfielder Grady Sizemore, DH Travis Hafner, catcher Victor Martinez, shortstop Jhonny Peralta and starter Fausto Carmona, are signed through 2010, suggesting at least two more years of contention beyond this season. Observes Detroit Tigers outfielder Curtis Granderson, who last month signed a five-year, $30.25 million extension, "A change of scenery is not always the best thing, and he's in a very good situation right now."

Can someone put that quote on C.C.’s locker…even if it came from Detroit?

I know that providing these links is akin to beating a dead horse and I’m the one holding the whip. But, unfortunately for us in Cleveland, it takes the national perspective to provide nice summations of the situations without degenerating into comments about convenience store shopping lists.

1 comment:

Learning to Swim said...

I wonder if Cy Young CC's poor performance in this past postseason will work out in the Indians favor in the long run. I sure would love to keep that large talented man in Cleveland.