Craig addressed earlier why the matter isn’t worth freaking out about, and that probably still holds true because the baseball season is long and because anything can happen, but it appears that this is now becoming a near fact: CC Sabathia, if everything goes according to plan production-wise, will opt out of his current contract in the fall of 2011.
That’s what Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News heard from a source on Monday night, it is what the great Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports guessed earlier this evening. And, well, it makes complete sense.
If Sabathia pitches like he has for the last three seasons — finishing with an ERA under 3.50 and a strikeout total near 200 — the Yankees will almost certainly buck up and give him a small raise like they did with third baseman Alex Rodriguez a couple of seasons ago.
Right now, Sabathia’s contract calls for a $23 million salary per season through 2015. With another dominant stat line, he could push that to something like $25 million a year and maybe even add coverage through 2016. The Yankees would probably make a quick bid and Sabathia would probably accept. He seems comfortable in New York and seems to enjoy playing with the Yanks’ current cast of characters.
Of course, the sane baseball fan is probably wondering why this is a conversation. It’s just way too early. If Sabathia spends an extended amount of time on the disabled list this season or simply doesn’t pitch all that well, the whole narrative changes. The Yankees aren’t going to suddenly restructure the deal this winter with no leverage at all. It’s a non-story until Sabathia starts compiling starts and we can play with the numbers.
The thought of a free agent market populated by Sabathia and Albert Pujols is a fun one, but it’s just a thought at this point for both cases.
Free agent right-hander Tim Lincecum isn’t ready to hang up his cleats just yet. At least, that’s the word from Lincecum’s agent, Rick Thurman, who says the 32-year-old is still “throwing and getting ready for the season” (via Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News).
Lincecum may not be ready to enter retirement, but another quote from Thurman suggests that he’ll be picky about where he pitches next. He doesn’t appear open to pitching overseas, and despite not having a contract for 2017 (or even any serious suitors), the right-hander is set on pitching in the big leagues this year. Whether or not he’s willing to take a bullpen role to do so remains to be seen.
While Baggarly predicts some interest in the veteran righty, there’s not much in Lincecum’s recent history to inspire faith in him as a starter, or even a reliever. He picked up a one-year, $2.5 million contract with the Angels following his hip surgery in 2015, and went 2-6 in 2016 with a 9.16 ERA, 5.4 BB/9 and 7.5 SO/9 over 38 1/3 innings. At this point, a minor league contract seems like the surest path back to major league success, though he’s unlikely to find an open spot on the Giants’ or Angels’ rosters anytime soon.
Free agent right-hander Jeff Manship has reportedly signed with the NC Dinos of the Korea Baseball Organization, according to FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman. The righty was non-tendered by the Indians in December.
Manship, 32, completed his second season with Cleveland in 2016. He delivered a 3.12 ERA, 4.6 BB/9 and 7.5 SO/9 rate over 43 1/3 innings, a slight decline after posting an 0.92 ERA with the club the year before. During eight years in the major leagues, Manship carries a 4.82 career ERA, 3.6 BB/9 and 6.4 SO/9 in multiple stints with the Twins, Rockies, Phillies and Indians.
The right-hander will be joined by fellow MLB transplants Eric Hacker and Xavier Scruggs, each of whom took one-year deals with the Dinos last month. Steve Adams of MLB Trade Rumors notes that each KBO team is allowed up to three foreign players, so Manship will round out the trio when he joins the roster. Any salary terms have yet to be disclosed.