A few months ago there were several reports about how Sabathia had no plans to exercise his opt-out clause, but at this point just about everyone seems to agree that he’ll do so and test free agency.
And rightfully so, because from Sabathia’s point of view there’s really no downside to hitting the open market even if his ultimate goal is to remain with the Yankees. He can do that, but also get a bigger commitment from New York than the four years and $92 million remaining on his current deal.
According to King “the Yankees will develop a plan they hope will keep Sabathia from opting out of a contract following the World Series.”
That makes sense given that he has until three days after the World Series to exercise the opt-out clause and in the meantime the Yankees have exclusive negotiating rights, but it’s hardly guaranteed that Sabathia (or his agent) is willing to agree to a deal before fielding offers as a free agent.
King speculates that the Yankees would be “agreeable” to a five- or six-year deal worth more than the $23 million per season he’s getting now. Last offseason Cliff Lee inked a five-year, $120 million deal with the Phillies, so that would seemingly be the starting point for a new Sabathia contract.