As campaign season rounded out and Barack Obama became President-elect of the United States, many in the media commented that he ran a “perfect campaign.” They played everything even-handedly, took advantage of every opportunity they saw, and never lost their cool. Once this whole CC Sabathia fiasco is in the books we’ll probably marvel at how perfectly he and his agent, Greg Genske, played the market perfectly.
They were dead-on from the start. The Yankees came out guns blazing with their record offer. Genske and Sabathia, however, were mum. They let the media do their work. The result were stories about the lefty’s preference to pitch on the West Coast and even his — totally unconfirmed — lack of desire to live in New York. The longer we waited, the crazier the stories got. Even better, people were actually believing it.
I’m guessing that CC and Genske knew from the start that they wouldn’t address the offer until the Winter Meetings. There was nothing that would behoove them to do so. They already had a record offer on hand. They knew it wasn’t going away, so waiting was the best way to play this. They had little to gain by jumping on the first offer, no matter how large.
So they waited for the offers to roll in. But they didn’t. Even as the media suggested that Sabathia would take less money to play out West, we heard nothing about offers from the Giants, Dodgers, or Giants. This part, I’m guessing, the Team CC did not anticipate. Yet, they knew that even if they got no further offers, they still had the one from the Yankees.
Now the Winter Meetings have rolled around, and Team CC is ready to get serious. What’s the first thing they do? Request a meeting with the team with the highest bid. Then what did they do? Take meetings with anyone willing to talk. Then they skipped town, leaving behind only an air of mystery and a reported weekend meeting in San Francisco.
We’ve heard about CC’s meetings, and we’re getting word on some additional offers — the Angels and the Red Sox have placed their bids, according to Peter Gammons. Yet he has a very telling quote after mentioning these offers: “Nothing,” says a source close to Sabathia, “is different than it was a week ago.”
Of course nothing’s different. That’s because Genske and Sabathia have played this off-season perfectly.