Did the Yankees lowball Sabathia?

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The Associated Press said yesterday that the Yankees have made Sabathia a new offer in an attempt to get him to forgo opting out of his deal. Yet, he appears to be opting out. Today Buster Olney speculates that they may have lowballed him, at least in terms of years:

Let’s say that the New York Yankees’ extension offer to CC Sabathia had been for two years at his current salary, $23 million a year … In that case, there almost certainly wouldn’t have been any deliberation, no reason to pause … But if the Yankees’ offer was for only one additional year, on top of the four years and $92 million that is already owed, that takes him into a gray area — which is where he seems to be today, in deciding whether to take what the Yankees are dangling or whether to opt out of his contract and test the free-agent market again.

Possible, I suppose. It’s also possible that he got that two-year offer and he’s just trying to sweeten it a bit anyway. It’s not like there’s a big downside to that. The Yankees aren’t so pitching rich right now that they can play the “the offer goes down by $2 million every day you wait, big guy!” game.  It’s all fun to wonder about.

Also fun to wonder about is what inspire Sabathia to actually take another team’s offer rather than go back to the Yankees.  Buster throws many idea out there — ones that would keep him in New York and ones that would make him leave. This one was fun:

If Sabathia goes to the National League, he could hit, something he loves to do.

To be fair to Buster, that wasn’t a major reason listed, but that reason makes me laugh anyway.  It seems every time there’s a big free agent pitcher that someone notes that they like to hit so watch out for the NL teams.

Has that ever really been a reason for a pitcher signing someplace? Sure, some people on Twitter said “Micah Owings” when I observed it a few minutes ago, but for a top flight guy?  Cliff Lee said something about liking to hit next year, but honestly, that can’t be in the top 15 reasons a pitcher signs someplace can it?  I think Buster is way more on point when he talks about the easier opposition and weaker offenses in the NL than a pitcher hitting.

As always, we know nothing until we know something.

 

Astros advance to the World Series with 4-0 finale against Yankees

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The Astros punched their ticket to the World Series on Saturday, shutting out the Yankees 4-0 to take their first Game 7 victory at home. Charlie Morton was nearly untouchable on the mound, holding the Yankees to two hits, a walk and five strikeouts en route to his first career postseason win.

Morton and Sabathia carried their duel through three solid innings. Morton struck out three batters and allowed just one baserunner. Sabathia worked in and out of jams in the second and third innings, supplying and stranding two runners in scoring position.

Evan Gattis was the first to strike. In the fourth inning, he punched a 2-2 slider from Sabathia into the left field wall, where it registered a projected 405 feet and broke a homer-less streak of 115 at-bats by designated hitters in the 2017 postseason. The home run signaled the beginning of the end for the Yankees’ starter. He induced a groundout from Marwin Gonzalez, then walked Brian McCann on six pitches and allowed Josh Reddick his first base hit of the playoffs. That was enough for Joe Girardi, who pulled Sabathia for righty Tommy Kahnle and an inning-ending double play to close out the fourth.

Even with Sabathia gone, there was still some hope that the middle of the order could bail the Yankees out. Greg Bird led off the fifth with a first pitch double and Aaron Hicks took a four-pitch walk. A wild pitch from Morton allowed Bird to reach third base, but Alex Bregman and Brian McCann weren’t about to let the Yankees spoil their starter’s shutout. Todd Frazier bounced a ball toward third base, where Bregman grabbed and fired it to home plate, catching Bird just as McCann put his glove down.

The bottom of the inning wasn’t any easier for Sabathia’s successors. Jose Altuve went oppo-taco on a 1-1 changeup from Kahnle, postmarking it 364 feet into the right field stands. Kahnle labored through the next four at-bats, handing out a pair of singles to Carlos Correa and Yuli Gurriel before sending Gattis down swinging. The next at-bat was even more troublesome. McCann roped a two-out, two-RBI double to the warning track in right field, clearing the bases and boosting the Astros’ to a cushy 4-0 lead.

The excitement fizzled a little over the next few innings. Brett Gardner muscled a leadoff single off of Lance McCullers, but was later caught at second on a force play to end the sixth. McCullers didn’t let go of the ball again. He was lights-out through the end of the game, scattering a walk and six strikeouts over four innings and clinching the pennant with a 1-2-3 performance in the ninth.

Whatever confidence the Astros had coming off of their three-game sweep in the Division Series was tested and tested again in their pennant run. They battled through three tough losses in Games 3 through 5, staved off elimination with a gem from Justin Verlander in Game 6, and finally emerged victorious tonight. Three days from now, when they enter Dodger Stadium for Game 1 of the World Series, they’ll have the chance to do it all again.