Report: Sabathia likely to opt out of deal after this season

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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.

Jered Weaver dealing with “dead arm”

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Padres starter Jered Weaver lasted just two-thirds of an inning in Wednesday afternoon’s Cactus League appearance against the Royals. He yielded four runs on three hits, throwing 31 pitches before getting pulled. His spring ERA now sits at an ugly 10.13.

Weaver said he’s been dealing with a “dead arm” since his last bullpen session, but added he’s dealt with the issue in previous springs, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.

The Padres signed Weaver to a one-year, $3 million contract last month. The right-hander is coming off of the worst season of his 11-year career. His fastball averaged a career-low 83 MPH and he put up a 5.06 ERA with a 103/51 K/BB ratio in 178 innings.

Ian Kinsler doesn’t think Puerto Rico or Dominican Republic players play the game the right way

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Update: Whoops…

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Earlier, Craig wrote about Dan Duquette’s dogwhistle language in his criticism of Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista. We have some more dogwhistling, this time coming from Tigers (and Team U.S.) second baseman Ian Kinsler. Via Billy Witz of The New York Times:

I hope kids watching the W.B.C. can watch the way we play the game and appreciate the way we play the game as opposed to the way Puerto Rico plays or the Dominican plays. That’s not taking anything away from them. That just wasn’t the way we were raised. They were raised differently and to show emotion and passion when you play. We do show emotion; we do show passion. But we just do it in a different way.

The goal of the World Baseball Classic, created by Major League Baseball, is to promote baseball across the globe. It’s players like Puerto Rico’s Javier Baez who are doing the best job in that regard, not boring white guys from the U.S. Potential baseball fans are not swayed into liking the sport when a player hits a home run and solemnly puts his head down to stroll the bases. They get excited and energized when players show emotion, flip their bats, celebrate. Baez did more to make baseball appeal to new and lapsed audiences with his premature celebration tag than the entire U.S. team has done this tournament.

Furthermore, it is hypocritical to want to diversify the sport’s audience while squelching incoming cultures.

Jim Leyland also got in on the action:

Go Puerto Rico.