On the first day of the free agent signing period, the Yankees gave to CC the biggest contract offer for a pitcher in the history of baseball. The offer is for six years and around $140 million. No one has reported on the exact figure.

This is no small offer. The Yankees have expressed their intentions. They want CC Sabathia, and they will pay through the nose for a chance to land the large lefty. Ed Price, at NJ.com, had the same succinct analysis we’ve been spouting for the last few months:

According to a person with knowledge of the Yankees’ plans, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the competitive free-agent market, the offer exceeds the record (for a pitcher) six-year, $137.5 million deal the Mets made with Johan Santana after acquiring him before the 2008 season.

Despite the overwhelming offer, the Yankees expect Sabathia’s agents to look around, but the team is confident it will end up with the top bid. Whether Sabathia, who prefers the National League, goes strictly for the most money remains to be seen.

That last line is key. If Sabathia wants to play on the West Coast or in the NL, the only thing the Yanks can do is toss more money his way. The Bombers will always out-bid the next highest contract offer. At some point, it will come down to what Sabathia wants, and at that point, it will be out of the Steinbrenners’ and Brian Cashman‘s hands. That’s a little bit of a harrowing thought.

Meanwhile, in Milwaukee, Doug Melvin sounds like a man resigned to his fate. The Brewers GM was incredulous when he heard of the Yanks’ offer. “It sounds like they’re overbidding,” Melvin said. “If the speculation is true that we’ve offered CC $100 million, why would you offer $140 million? Why wouldn’t you offer $110 million?”

The Yanks are offering up that much simply to blow away Sabathia. If they exceed everyone by such a large margin, the Yanks won’t have to worry too much about the competition.

Meanwhile, Hank, the ineffectual voice, told the media that the Yanks want everyone. It’s quite possible that three free agent hurlers will end up in the Bronx this year. That would probably be an unprecedented haul, but if I’ve learned one thing about the Hot Stove League over the years, it’s that we shouldn’t count our chickens before they hatch.

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Free agency official started today, but unsurprisingly no big names came off the board. The Yanks did make their presence known however, dropping a 6 year, $140M offer in the lap of CC Sabathia. Right in line with the megadeal the Mets gave Johan Santana despite bidding against no one, this is just the start of what figures to be a rather intense negotiation.The Yanks are expected to tender offers to AJ Burnett & Derek Lowe in the coming days, which is more due diligence than anything.

No free agents signed today, and none are expected too anytime soon. The first major free agent to sign last year was Torii Hunter, who didn’t give it to the Angels until late November. It’s a marathon, not a race sprint; there’s still more than three months until pitchers & catchers have to show up in Tampa.

Your New York sports docket is empty tonight, unless you count the Knicks taking on Seattle Oklahoma City at the Gardner. Here’s your open thread for the night. Talk whatever’s on your mind, but keep it civilized.

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Carl Pavano is so tired

By in Whimsy. Tags: · Comments (22) ·

I’ve been sitting on this for a few days just because we’ve had better things to talk about. But since it’s Friday afternoon, and everyone enjoys humor on Friday afternoon, let’s make fun of Carl Pavano.

In an article about the mutual affection Carl Pavano and the Marlins seem to have for each other this winter, the long-time denizen of the DL issued a gem of a quote. “I look back at those four years with the Yankees, it was exhausting,” he said.

Exhausting. Someone get this man a dictionary.

Carl Pavano was so exhausted by his four years on the Yankees. He was exhausted by the 26 starts he made over four years, by the nine games he managed to win and by the 145.2 innings he pitched. Or perhaps he was just exhausted cashing his paycheck every other week while contributing little else to the Yanks.

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RAB Live Chat

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  • Looking ahead to 2009

    While we’re still a few long months away from Spring Training and Opening Day, it’s never too early to look ahead to next season. To that end, Maury Brown penned a great piece on the top 10 business-related story lines for next season. From the economy to the new stadiums to the second iteration of the World Baseball Classic, the ’09 season will keep everyone pretty busy. · (0) ·


A tale of two pitchers

By in Rants. · Comments (63) ·

Who would you rather:

Pitcher A: 64 G, 70.2 IP, 41 H, 6 BB, 77 K, 1.40 ERA, 0.665 WHIP, .165/.190/.233
Pitcher B: 76 G, 68.1 IP, 54 H, 34 BB, 77 K, 2.24 ERA, 1.288 WHIP, .216/.314/.316

Now, it’s hard to deny that both pitchers had some pretty impressive numbers in 2008. Pitcher B walked a few too many guys, and Pitcher A was pretty much lights out across the board. Would you believe me if I told you that Pitcher B garnered 32 Cy Young votes and a third-place finish in the balloting while Pitcher A received just three third-place votes?

Of course, Pitcher A saved “only” 39 games this year while Pitcher B set a new MLB record with 62 saves. For what it’s worth, those fancy statisticians over at Baseball Prospectus figure that Pitcher A, Mariano Rivera, was the top reliever in baseball this year while Pitcher B, Francisco Rodriguez, is far down the list. K-Rod was good this year, but he’s no Rivera.

With 62 saves staring at them in the face, the writers were once again misled by a largely meaningless counting stat. Yet again, the voters show that the post-season awards are purely symbolic. Cliff Lee won — and deserved — his Cy Young, but after that, the voters are just pulling names out of thing air.

Postscript: Mike Mussina received just two third-place votes for his 20-win season. While Cy Young votes for Moose would be largely symbolic, I expected him to do slightly better than that. I guess the writers would rather let saves instead of emotions get the best of them.

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Over the next few days and weeks, we’ll burn a lot of pixels talking about CC Sabathia, but that’s one free agent signing that will wrap itself up quickly. In reality, it boils down to Sabathia. Either he will play for the Yankees because they will out-bid everyone or he doesn’t want to play in New York. It’s that simple.

There’s another free agent — number one on Keith Law’s list — who probably won’t sign until the end of December. For a while, this player seemed destined to the Yankees, but with the acquisition today of Nick Swisher, many are assuming that the Yanks won’t be that interested in Mark Teixeira. In my opinion, that is simply not the case.

Swisher was the first salvo the Yanks fired off in the Hot Stove League, but he will be just the first piece in an off-season of moves. Now, there is no doubt that Nick Swisher fills a Yankee need. A one-time first-round draft pick, Swisher will be 28 come opening day, and while his numbers seemed down last year, he has the ability to hit 20-30 home runs a season. He’s also a master at getting on base.

Beyond that, Swisher is both an outfielder and a first baseman. The Yanks, looking to get younger and more athletic, could use Swisher at first and eschew signing Mark Teixeira or Adam Dunn. But perhaps, they’ll opt to use Swisher in the outfield, replacing the 35-year-old Bobby Abreu with Swisher.

In that regard, Mark Teixeira makes total sense, and a team in a position the Yanks are in would have a tough time turning down a player of Teixeira’s caliber. The switch-hitting first baseman will be 29 on Opening Day, making him two baseball seasons younger than Jason Giambi was when he signed with the Yanks in 2001. Meanwhile, Teixeira has a career line of .290/.378/.541, and he’s shown he can hit outside of Texas.

With his Gold Glove-caliber defense, Teixeira is, to borrow a phrase from Buster Olney, the perfect fit for a Yankee team looking to get younger and more athletic while keeping up a relentless pace of high-OBP players. A heart of the order with Teixiera, A-Rod, Posada and Swisher would be potent indeed.

Meanwhile, Keith Law brings up an interesting point in his ESPN free agent run down. Since Teixeira is so young, if he were to sign a six-year deal, when he next becomes a free agent after his age 34 season, he could then sign another substantial contract. It would be more beneficial for Scott Boras and Teixeira to take a six-year deal than it would be for them to push for an eight- or ten-year contract.

Even if the Yanks opt to let Teixeira go, they have another 1B/OF option to pursue as well. Adam Dunn, despite the deceptively low batting average, would fit right in as well. He’s not the defender Teixeira is, and he’s not quite as athletic as Swisher. But he is, however, a beast at the plate. His career OPS+ of 130 is just slightly lower than Teixeira’s 134 mark. He hasn’t hit fewer than 40 home runs since his injury-shortened 2003 campaign, and despite the low batting average and high strike-out numbers, he gets on base a whopping 38.1 percent of the time. For those keeping score at home, that’s actually slightly higher than Teixeira’s career OBP.

Clearly, the Yankees have options. At a time when the team has more holes to fill than they’ve had in recent years, the free agent crop is particularly lush this year. While Nick Swisher is a great start, he’s far from the final answer. While the Yanks may not seem like they need Mark Teixeira or even Adam Dunn now, we’ll see what happens when the dust settles. Meanwhile, forty-five minutes ago, as of this writing, the free agent gates were unleashed. The fun is just beginning.

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  • Yanks officially firm up coaching staff

    Lost amidst the brouhaha of the Nick Swisher was a press release from the Yanks announcing what we knew a few weeks ago about the coaching staff: Rob Thomson is the new third base coach; Tony Peña will serve as Joe Girardi’s bench coach; and Mick Kelleher will be the Coach In Charge of Lighting a Fire Under Robinson Cano’s Ass first base coach. This announcement is just a formality as these changes were reported a few weeks ago. · (15) ·


The End of An Era

By in Whimsy. · Comments (18) ·
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