When the Yankees and CC conducted their winter dance in December, rumors were flying left and right. Joe and Mike covered the Winter Meetings in Vegas for RAB, and I was home studying for finals. To relive the madness, check out the archives here and here.
When Sabathia finally signed his eight-year, $160-million deal with the Yanks, it was unclear who else was in on the bidding. We knew that the Angels and Giants had expressed some interest, but the only other rumored offer was one for six years and $110-$120 million from the Brewers.
As the early days in December wore on, a few stories emerged. Supposedly, the Giants were interested but never made an offer. The Angels were also rumored to be in on the negotiations, but the team shot those stories down. In fact, the Yankees were rumored to be confident that neither the Angels nor Giants would approach $140 million. They wanted to blow away Sabathia, and more than a few fans thought they were overpaying and outbidding themselves for the big man’s services.
Late on Saturday though Jon Heyman added a unique twist to the story, nearly six months later. He reported via Twitter: “very late scoop — turns out the angels made a $140-million offer to CC. so yanks were wise to go from 140 to 161 mil.”
That’s quite the rub. A lot of Yankee analysts and fans pushed the line that Sabathia didn’t want to play in New York, that his heart lay on the West Coast and that he would return as soon as he could. The presence of an Angels’ offer that was fairly competitive with the Yankee offer would seemingly dispel that notion. He could have turned down that extra money for the chance to pitch in Southern California.
In the end, we now know why the Yankees went so high with their final bid: They had a competitor with the financial resources to give them a run for their money. They wanted their prize, and they went for it. The Yankees probably didn’t know what the Angels’ top offer was, but they knew they had to stay one step ahead.
So when Sabathia takes the mound in a few hours, Yankee fans should be ever grateful that CC is in the Bronx and not in Anaheim. While I always assumed Sabathia would take the Yanks’ money, perhaps it wasn’t as sure a bet as I thought it to be.