We all know by now that CC Sabathia is sitting on a few $100-million offers. The Brewers seem willing to give him $100 million over five years; the Yanks would like his services for six years at $140 million.
On the surface, this doesn’t seem like a tough decision. The Yankees are offering more stability in term sof the number of years and more money in pure dollars. If only life — and baseball — were that simple.
In an excellent piece of analysis earlier this week, Jeff Sackman at Brew Crew Ball examined how these two offers aren’t as different as the media would make them out to be. First, we have the issue of average annual value. The Brewers are reportedly offering $20 million a season while the Yanks’ contract comes in at $23.3 million. If Sabathia truly does enjoy the NL and Milwaukee, would a meager $3.3 million per season be enough to convince him to come to New York?
But more importantly, is that really a difference of $3.3 million per year? Using some cost-of-living adjustments and basic economic assumptions, the Brew Crew Ball has put together a spreadsheet tracking the two offers. Sackman provides the explanation:
Depending on to what degree Sabathia wants to engage with his new community, that’ll be more expensive in New York. First and foremost, he’ll pay more taxes as a part- or full-time resident of NYC. If he wants to buy a celeb-style compound for his family, it might take $20MM for such a place on Long Island; for the same amount, he could probably buy Manitowoc.
This is a tough adjustment for us to figure, because we don’t know just how much money CC would spend in NY or MKE. With that caveat, I think the taxes alone would come close to an extra 10% bite on Yankees earnings. Mykenk’s spreadsheet estimates something closer to 15%, which isn’t all that far-fetched, either.
So…if we use the 10% number, $140 looks more like $126–a yearly value of just barely more than the Brewers offer. If we up that to 15%, the Yankees are down to $119, or slightly less on an annualized basis.
Now, as Sackman, notes there are plenty of other considerations to take into account. The total value figure of the Yanks’ offer is fairly shocking and would certainly set the bar high for future free agent pitchers. Sabathia’s odds of winning a championship are higher in New York than in Milwaukee. The players association may pressure CC into taking the higher offer.
But in the end, Sackman has a point that I hope the Yanks and CC’s agent understand. The Yanks’ offer just isn’t as high as we all thought, and perhaps, that’s one of the reasons why Sabathia’s camp has remained silent on the state of the lefty’s free agency.