Within minutes of the Yankees’ season ending CC Sabathia was asked whether he planned to exercise the opt-out clause in his contract to become a free agent, but the left-hander told reporters that he wasn’t ready to think about it yet.
“I can’t even wrap my head around that right now,” Sabathia said. “I’m just thinking about what I didn’t do to help us win. Maybe in the next couple days, next couple of weeks, I’ll think about that and see what happens.”
That certainly doesn’t qualify as a “no, I’m definitely not opting out” answer.
Sabathia has repeatedly said he loves playing for the Yankees and in New York, but from a strictly business standpoint he’d seemingly have little trouble securing a deal on the open market that beats the four years and $92 million remaining on his current contract. And he could always opt out and then re-sign with the Yankees anyway, for more money and a longer commitment.
Last offseason Cliff Lee got a five-year, $120 million deal from the Phillies that could be worth up to $147.5 million for six years and two offseasons ago the Yankees felt Sabathia was worth a seven-year, $161 million commitment. If he’s interested in maximizing his earning potential opting out is pretty obviously the way to go following a season in which he went 19-8 with a 3.00 ERA and 230 strikeouts in 237 innings at age 30.
The Giants are finalizing a minor league deal for free agent outfielder Cameron Maybin, according to Andrew Baggarly and Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. The team has not confirmed the signing, but it’s in keeping with their stated goal of adding more veteran presence and outfield options to their roster in advance of the 2019 season.
Maybin, 31, appeared in back-to-back gigs with the Marlins and Mariners in 2018. He slashed an underwhelming .249/.326/.336 with four home runs, 10 stolen bases (in 15 chances), a .662 OPS, and 0.5 fWAR through 384 plate appearances for the two clubs, a clear improvement over his totals in 2017 but still shy of the career numbers he posted with the Padres all the way back in 2011. It’s not only his offense that has tanked, but his speed and defense in center field, all of which he’ll try to improve as he jockeys for a roster spot in camp this month.
The Giants’ outfield has been largely depleted of any kind of consistent talent lately, especially taking into account the recent departures of Hunter Pence, Gregor Blanco, and Gorkys Hernández. Even with the acquisition of, say, All-Star right fielder Bryce Harper, there’s nothing standing in the way of Maybin and fellow veteran signee Gerardo Parra grabbing hold of full- or part-time roles this year, though they’ll need to outperform candidates like Chris Shaw, Steven Duggar, Drew Ferguson, Mac Williamson, Austin Slater, Craig Gentry, Mike Gerber, and others first.
In a previous report on Friday, Baggarly revealed that a “handshake understanding” had been established with several veteran players already this offseason, all but guaranteeing them regular starting opportunities over the course of the season. How those agreements will be affected by spring training performances remains to be seen, but at least for now, the Giants appear prepared to give their newest players a long leash as they try to get back on top in the NL West.