CC Sabathia stayed true to his word. After three years of professing his love for New York and the Yankees, the big lefty did not trigger the opt-out clause in his contract prior to tonight’s midnight deadline. As he says in the video above (via Zoodig), he and the team have agreed to a new contract extension that will almost assuredly keep him in pinstripes for the remainder of his career.
Now, for the gory details as reported by Buster Olney, Ken Rosenthal, and Joel Sherman. Essentially, it’s a five-year deal worth $122M guaranteed plus a sixth year vesting option worth $25M. That option depends on the health of his left shoulder. If Sabathia a) finishes the 2016 season on the DL with a shoulder injury, b) spends 45 days on the DL with a shoulder injury in 2016, or c) has to make six relief appearances in 2016 due to a shoulder problem, the option will not vest and he will instead receive a $5M buyout. There is no protection against elbow problems, and as far as we know, there are no provisions about his weight. At the end of the day, the Yankees added one year and $30M guaranteed to the four years and $92M still left on his original contract.
The team’s original offer, which we’ve know about for a while, was a five-year package worth $120.5M guaranteed according to Sherman, or half-a-mil more than Cliff Lee got from the Phillies. The Yankees increased their offer today to keep Sabathia from opting out and hitting the open market. The new deal ensures that CC is the highest paid pitcher in the game in terms of average annual value ($24.4M) and total package (the original $161M contract). We don’t know what other teams would have gotten involved in the bidding had he hit free agency, but I think it was in the Yankees’ best interests to avoid that scenario. Sabathia comes out looking like the good guy as well.
With that taken care of, the team can move forward with its offseason business. The rotation still needs help even with Sabathia back on board, but at least now the Yankees know they will have their ace left-hander ready to take the ball on Opening Day. Welcome back CC, I’m glad you never left.