Yankees ace CC Sabathia has stated time and time again that he wants to remain in New York, but all signs point to him opting out of his contract this winter in order to gain a few more years and dollars.
In order to secure those years and dollars, though, Sabathia will need other interested suitors.
The Yankees won’t open their wallets unless given a reason — an opponent or two willing to meet or exceed the already-lofty salaries on his current deal.
Enter the AL West champion Rangers.
A “baseball source” told Wallace Matthews of ESPN New York this week that the Texas front office is preparing to make a significant bid for the 31-year-old left-hander with the expectation that he will indeed opt out after the World Series.
“I hear they’re going to throw a boatload of money at him,” said the source, who requested anonymity, “But I think he’ll stay with the Yankees. He’s talked so much about how much he loves New York, and besides, the Yankees can’t afford to lose him from that pitching staff.”
Sabathia posted a 3.00 ERA and 230/61 K/BB ratio in 237 1/3 innings this season for the American League East champion Yankees. It’s hard to imagine baseball’s biggest spenders letting him go, especially with their lack of rotation depth. But Nolan Ryan, Jon Daniels and Co. are apparently going to give it a whirl.
The Red Sox have clinched the AL East for a third consecutive season, beating the Yankees 11-6 in the Bronx on Thursday night. It’s the third consecutive season in which the Red Sox have won the division, the first time that’s ever been done in club history. In fact, the only other times the Red Sox won the division in back-to-back years were 1903-04 and 1915-16.
AL MVP candidate Mookie Betts went 4-for-5 with a two-run single in the second inning off of Masahiro Tanaka and a three-run homer in the eighth against Aroldis Chapman to put the game out of reach. Jackie Bradley and Brock Holt also hit homers. Red Sox starter Eduardo Rodriguez was on the hook for five runs in 3 2/3 innings, but three of them scored when Heath Hembree inherited a bases-loaded situation, then served up a grand slam to Giancarlo Stanton in the fourth. The rest of the bullpen combined to fire five scoreless innings. Steven Wright had three of them followed by zeroes from Ryan Brasier and Craig Kimbrel.
With the loss, the Yankees’ lead over the Athletics for the first Wild Card slot shrinks to 1.5 games. Meanwhile, the Red Sox will try to clinch home field advantage throughout the playoffs. With a 104-49 record, their closest competitor is the 95-57 Astros. With nine games remaining in the regular season for the Red Sox, they would have to lose every game remaining in the regular season and the Astros would have to win their 10 remaining games in order to fail to claim home field advantage.