Craig addressed earlier why the matter isn’t worth freaking out about, and that probably still holds true because the baseball season is long and because anything can happen, but it appears that this is now becoming a near fact: CC Sabathia, if everything goes according to plan production-wise, will opt out of his current contract in the fall of 2011.
That’s what Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News heard from a source on Monday night, it is what the great Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports guessed earlier this evening. And, well, it makes complete sense.
If Sabathia pitches like he has for the last three seasons — finishing with an ERA under 3.50 and a strikeout total near 200 — the Yankees will almost certainly buck up and give him a small raise like they did with third baseman Alex Rodriguez a couple of seasons ago.
Right now, Sabathia’s contract calls for a $23 million salary per season through 2015. With another dominant stat line, he could push that to something like $25 million a year and maybe even add coverage through 2016. The Yankees would probably make a quick bid and Sabathia would probably accept. He seems comfortable in New York and seems to enjoy playing with the Yanks’ current cast of characters.
Of course, the sane baseball fan is probably wondering why this is a conversation. It’s just way too early. If Sabathia spends an extended amount of time on the disabled list this season or simply doesn’t pitch all that well, the whole narrative changes. The Yankees aren’t going to suddenly restructure the deal this winter with no leverage at all. It’s a non-story until Sabathia starts compiling starts and we can play with the numbers.
The thought of a free agent market populated by Sabathia and Albert Pujols is a fun one, but it’s just a thought at this point for both cases.