Well, here’s a surprise.
CC Sabathia just announced that he has agreed to a contract extension with the Yankees.
Most expected Sabathia would opt out of the remaining four years and $92 million on his contract and test free agency, but both sides worked hard to hammer out a new deal before tonight’s deadline.
As Buster Olney of ESPN.com reports, this essentially is a one-year contract extension. Sabathia will earn $25 million in 2016 while Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com hears that the contract includes a $25 million vesting option for 2017 or a $5 million buyout. The 31-year-old left-hander is now guaranteed $122 million over the next five years, or $24.4 million per year, which tops Cliff Lee ($24 million) for the highest average annual value for a pitcher.
UPDATE: Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that the option for 2017 automatically vests unless Sabathia ends the 2016 season on the disabled list with a shoulder injury, spends more than 45 days on the disabled list in 2016 due to a shoulder injury or makes at least six relief appearances in 2016 due to shoulder issues.
UPDATE II: The Yankees are currently holding a conference call and have sent out a press release. This baby is official.
The Mets have begun working outfielder Jay Bruce and second baseman Neil Walker at first base as potential insurance in the event Lucas Duda continues to experience back discomfort, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports. Duda has been sidelined recently due to back spasms and missed all but 47 games last season as a result of a stress fracture in his lower back.
Manager Terry Collins spoke about Bruce’s work at first base on Sunday, saying, “I liked everything I saw today. “It looks like he’s got the athleticism, he’s got the hands, he’s got the arm angle. He made some throws in our drills that you wouldn’t expect an outfielder to be able to make, but yet he does. If that’s where we have to go, I think we’ll be fine.”
Bruce has only three games’ worth of experience at first base at the major league level, but still has high expectations for himself. He said, “I am going to work at it. I want to give myself a chance and the team a chance. I am not going to go over there and be a butcher. It’s just not the way I go about my business on the baseball field and it wouldn’t be fair to the team if I wasn’t capable to do it, so I am going to work at it and we’ll see what happens.”
The Mets made Bruce available via trade over the offseason but didn’t get an offer that whet their appetite. As a result, Michael Conforto appears to be the odd man out in the Mets’ crowded outfield.
Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis has been diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff in his right shoulder, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian reports. Kipnis has received a cortisone shot and will be shut down from throwing for the next four to five days.
There’s a lot of spring left, so it’s perfectly sensible for the Indians to play it safe with their star player. The club already had Kipnis on a shoulder strengthening program.
Kipnis, 29, helped the Indians to the playoffs after batting .275/.343/.469 with 23 home runs, 92 RBI, 91 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases in 688 plate appearances during the regular season last year. He then helped the Indians reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Cubs, where they were eventually stopped, as he provided a .741 OPS including four homers and eight RBI in 15 playoff games.