After meeting in Florida this week to formulate a plan to keep CC Sabathia if/when he exercises the opt-out clause in his contract the Yankees have prepared a new contract offer for the 30-year-old left-hander.
David Waldstein of the New York Times reports that they’ll make the proposal to Sabathia and his agent before he can opt out of the current deal, clearly hoping to keep him from hitting the open market.
No details yet on the terms of the new offer, but Waldstein writes that “it would sweeten Sabathia’s already lucrative deal because the Yankees are committed to bringing him back.”
His current deal has four years and $92 million remaining, but Sabathia would have little trouble finding a bigger deal as a free agent even if he ultimately wants to stay in New York. Cliff Lee’s five-year, $120 million contract with the Phillies from last offseason seems like an obvious starting point.
You hear a lot about pitchers tipping pitches. It’s often offered up post-facto as an excuse for poor performance by the pitcher himself or his own team. It’s sort of like the “best shape of my life” thing being offered in the offseason to talk about why the player got injured or played badly the previous year. “Smitty’s stuff is still great, he was just tipping his pitches,” said a source close to the player whose stuff is not really great anymore.
Which isn’t to say that pitchers don’t tip pitches. Of course they do. Opposing teams look for it, pick up on it and take advantage of it whenever they can. It’s just that (a) the opposing team has an interest in not talking about it, lest the pitcher STOP tipping its pitches; and (b) the guy actually tipping his pitches doesn’t want to talk specifically about it lest he starts doing it again.
Which is what makes this article at Sports Illustrated so interesting. In it Tom Verducci talks to an anonymous Houston Astros player who explains how Dodgers starter Yu Darvish was tipping his pitches during the World Series, leading to him getting absolutely shellacked in Games 3 and 7. The upshot: the Astros knew when a slider or a cutter was coming, they waited for it and they teed off.
Darvish is a free agent now. I’m guessing, whoever signs him, knows exactly what they’ll gave him work on the first day of spring training.