C.C. Sabathia is undoubtedly one of baseball’s best pitchers, and he has had an extremely successful first three years as a member of the New York Yankees. But in an odd twist, Sabathia can opt out of his contract after this season, and with the way he has pitched, he might do just that to leverage more money.
Sabathia is owed $92 million between next season and 2015, which works out to $23 million a year in that span. The original deal was a seven-year, $161 million contract. At this point, with the way baseball’s salaries are exploding, there really is little doubt he could get at least that on the open market if he chose free agency after this season.
This season, Sabathia is 19-8 with a 3.01 ERA, a 1.27 WHIP, and 224 strikeouts in 230 innings. In his three years in the Bronx, Sabathia is 59-23 with a 3.19 ERA in exactly 100 starts. He also carries a 1.19 WHIP and 618 strikeouts in 697.2 innings. Those are phenomenal numbers and put him easily within the top five pitchers in baseball in during that span.
Sabathia would easily be the top starting pitcher available this offseason, and is light years ahead of second place, which would probably be occupied by Texas Rangers lefty C.J. Wilson. The chances are pretty good that a team like the Rangers, Boston Red Sox or maybe even Sabathia’s hometown San Francisco Giants would make a competitive offer for the 2007 AL Cy Young Award winner.
This could all just be idle speculation, but Sabathia knows what he’s worth to the Yankees, especially with A.J. Burnett’s collapse this season. Don’t be surprised if you see him at least ask the Yankees to renegotiate his deal while using his opt-out clause as leverage.