It sure looks like CC Sabathia will opt out of his contract with the Yankees

32 Comments

CC Sabathia still has around three weeks to decide whether to opt out of his contract with the Yankees, but from what his agent Brian Peters told Buster Olney of ESPN.com (Insider only) this morning, it sure sounds like he has already made up his mind.

“CC has been clear about how he feels about New York and the Yankees,” Peters said on Saturday morning, “and we will exhaust all of our efforts to reach a new agreement (with the Yankees).”

Asked if the negotiations had started, Peters said, “As of today, I’ve got nothing new to report.”

Sabathia, who signed a seven-year, $161 million contract with the Yankees in December of 2008, is currently owed $23 million over each of the next four years. However, with C.J. Wilson as the best starting pitcher on the market this winter, Sabathia could benefit greatly by opting out and negotiating a new deal.

The Yankees will do everything in their power to keep the big southpaw, but Olney suspects that they could face some competition from the Rangers, Cubs and Angels. Even if Sabathia’s intention is to stay with the Yankees, as most believe it is, it’s simply the right business move to opt out and test the market.

Justin Turner is a postseason monster

Jamie Squire/Getty Images
5 Comments

A not-insignificant amount of the Dodgers’ success in recent years has to do with the emergence of Justin Turner. In his first five seasons with the Orioles and Mets, he was a forgettable infielder who had versatility, but no power. The Mets non-tendered him after the 2013 season, a move they now really regret.

In four regular seasons since, as a Dodger, Turner has hit an aggregate .303/.378/.502. His 162-game averages over those four seasons: 23 home runs, 36 doubles, 83 RBI, 80 runs scored. And he’s also a pretty good third baseman, it turns out. The Dodgers have averaged 95 wins per season over the past four years.

Turner, 32, has gotten better and better with each passing year. This year, he drew more walks (59) than strikeouts (56), a club only five other players (min. 300 PA) belonged to, and he trailed only Joey Votto (1.61) in BB/K ratio (1.05). He zoomed past his previous career-high in OPS, finishing at .945. His .415 on-base percentage was fourth-best in baseball. His batting average was fifth-best and only nine points behind NL batting champion Charlie Blackmon.

It doesn’t seem possible, but Turner has been even better in the postseason. He exemplified that with his walk-off home run to win Game 2 of the NLCS against the Cubs. Overall, entering Wednesday night’s action, he was batting .363/.474/.613 in 97 postseason plate appearances. In Game 4, he went 2-for-2 with two walks, a single, and a solo home run. That increases his postseason slash line to .378/.495/.659, now across 101 plate appearances. That’s a 1.154 OPS. The career-high regular season OPS for future first-ballot Hall of Famer Albert Pujols was 1.114 in 2008, when he won his third career MVP Award. Statistically, in the postseason, Turner hits slightly better than Pujols did in the prime of his career. Of course, we should adjust for leagues and parks and all that, but to even be in that neighborhood is incredible.

In the age of stats, the concept of “clutch” has rightfully eroded. We don’t really allow players to ascend to godlike levels anymore like the way we did Derek Jeter, for instance. (Jeter’s career OPS in the playoffs, by the way, was a comparatively pitiful .838.) Turner isn’t clutch; he’s just a damn good hitter whose careful approach at the plate has allowed him to shine in the postseason and the Dodgers can’t imagine life without him.