CC Sabathia says he won’t opt out of contract after 2011, but it would make financial sense if he did

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CC Sabathia’s seven-year, $161 million contract with the Yankees contains a clause that allows him to opt out after three seasons, which means he could become a free agent next offseason.

Doing so would involve passing on the four years and $97 million remaining on the deal after 2011, but given the reports of Cliff Lee fielding six- and perhaps even seven-year offers it seems likely that Sabathia could secure more than $100 million for more than four years.

However, yesterday Sabathia told George King of the New York Post that he will not opt out of the contract and explained that Lee’s current situation “has no effect on me at all.”

I believe Sabathia, but it’ll be interesting to see if his stance changes once next offseason rolls around and his agent tells him it would be pretty easy to top the $97 million remaining on his contract. After all, why negotiate the opt-out clause into the contract in the first place if using it was never in the plans? Lee is 32 years old and sounds likely to sign for at least $125 million and perhaps significantly more. Next winter Sabathia will be 31 years old and by that point $97 million over four years may look like a bargain.