Doing the Sabathia dance in Vegas

John Harper is a bit wary of the CC Sabathia dance. The Yanks, he writes, seem to believe CC will be theirs before the Winter Meetings are out, and they just might be getting ahead of themselves.

Considering their blowaway offer has been dangling out there for three weeks, the Yankees privately seem pretty smug about landing CC Sabathia, laughing off the idea that the Giants are serious competitors or that the Angels, if and when they do make an offer, will go anywhere near $140 million.

“We’re confident it will happen,” was the way one Yankee person summed up the organization’s feeling one day last week.

Too confident? Is the Yankee brass reading the situation correctly, that Sabathia won’t walk away from an extra $30-$40 million even if it’s clear he’s not dying to be a Yankee? Or are they underestimating either Sabathia’s desire to play on the West Coast or some other organization’s willingness to make an offer well north of $100 million?

Harper’s basic premise is one worth considering. Maybe the Yanks are being too smug about Sabathia. But at the same time, if they lose out on Sabathia, they have a fall-back plan, and that fall-back plan, as I said yesterday, could lead to a more balanced team. If they lose out on Sabathia and pursue Teixeira, Sheets, Lowe or Burnett, they wouldn’t be landing that big ace they could use, but they would be shoring up both their offense and pitching.

I think Sabathia would be more important come the post-season, but you have to get to October before you can start worrying about October. I don’t think the Yanks or their fans should worry, per se, if they miss out on Sabathia. Plan B isn’t the worst thing in the world either.

Saturday morning Sabathia links

Update: Comments are back on, and I’ve added a few more stories.

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We have a lot of CC Sabathia quick hits this morning. Let’s dive in.

  • For a long, drawn-out take on Brian Cashman‘s trip out west — replete with a “he’s going to stare him straight through the eyes and into the heart of his soul” analogy — check out Jon Heyman’s latest. It features two anonymous-to-him bids for Sabathia and a growing sense that the Yanks want to judge Sabathia’s interest before withdrawing their offer and pursuing Mark Teixeira.

    The more I think about it and the long Sabathia stews, the more I prefer Teixeira. It has nothing to do with Sabathia’s perceived desire and everything to do with Teixeira’s offensive and defensive prowess. The first baseman may just be a better cog.

  • Ken Davidoff believes that the Brewers won’t go higher than six years and $110 million. The Yanks’ offer would remain the best known deal by a significant amount.
  • Anthony McCarron disputes Heyman’s report. Those other two anonymous deals, according to McCarron’s sources, aren’t really there. One source speculates that they are smoke screens tossed up by Sabathia’s agent to draw more out of the Yanks. That source really doesn’t see the Giants as a legitimate option. Bruce Jenkins, writing for the San Francisco Chronicle, isn’t ready to write the Giants off yet.

Open Thread: Oh, noes!!1! Sabathia meets with the Red Sox

It’s Friday before the Winter Meetings. That means it’s time for the Red Sox to scare the crap out of Yankee fans everywhere. Via the tireless Buster Olney:

The Red Sox are meeting with CC Sabathia sometime in the next few days, and so will Yankees GM Brian Cashman, who reportedly met with Scott Boras, the agent for Mark Teixeira and Derek Lowe. It’s unclear whether the Red Sox are seriously interested in trying to compete with the Yankees’ $140 million offer to Sabathia, or if they are just doing their due diligence and preparing alternatives in their winter shopping.

The Red Sox are doing what any team in their position would do. They’re being a pain in the neck for the Yankees, Angels and any other team interested in Sabathia. Are they going to sign him? No. Do they want to make their opponents pay more? Of course. Welcome to business.

Anyway, that’s that. Use this thread as your Friday night open thread. Discuss anything. Play nice. Just don’t accidentally shoot yourselves in the hip.

Yankee rumors: Cano, Sabathia, Lowe, Teixeira

Following up on everything…

  • While watching the O.J. Simpson sentencing, my eyes wandered to the ESPN crawl, and I saw some news that Yankee fans will both bemoan and appreciate. As part of the free agent transaction chain, we should now be rooting for Mark Teixeira to sign sooner rather than later. Peter Gammons reports that CC Sabathia is waiting to see what happens between Teixeira and the Angels, and Derek Lowe is waiting to see what happens with Sabathia. From a business perspective, that all makes perfect sense. Those of you impatient for no reason with the seemingly slow pace of the Hot Stove League won’t like it.
  • This news will of course rekindle the misguided line of reasoning that Sabathia hates New York and wants to pitch only for a West Coast team closer to his home. To combat that, check out Tyler Kepner’s latest. He writes:

    “It’s not that he doesn’t want to be a Yankee; that’s not it at all,” said a friend of Sabathia’s, who was granted anonymity because Sabathia had not authorized him to speak on his behalf. “It’s just the aspect of being out there, his family, that kind of stuff.”

    That’s all it is. Sabathia would prefer to be on the West Coast and is waiting to see what shakes down. If the Yanks’ offer emerges as the best, he’ll come to the Bronx with open arms. Just because he is waiting, smartly, doesn’t mean he doesn’t want to be here.

  • Finally, Robinson Cano‘s name keeps popping up in various rumors. The Yanks have committed a lot of resources and time to Cano this off-season, and I doubt they would move him. If they’re so inclined, however, Buster Olney has word of the asking price. The Yanks would first ask the Dodgers for Clayton Kershaw or Chad Billingsley. When they can’t get one of those two pitching studs, they’d turn their attention to Matt Kemp. In other words, Cano ain’t goin’ nowhere.

Giants may but interested, but Yanks pressing hard for CC

Update 10:14 p.m.: I worte this rest of this post this afternoon. Since then, the AP is reporting that the Yankees and CC Sabathia will meet this weekend. It appears that the market is starting to move.

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Sources sure are saying a lot about CC Sabathia these days, but I’m not buying it. After last night’s Jayson Stark speculation about Sabathia and the Giants, Mark Feinsand’s sources said that the Giants were “considering” Sabathia, but only if he’s willing to accept “an extreme hometown discount.”

I just don’t buy it and neither does Ken Davidoff. To me, this sounds remarkably similar to the reports about the Angels’ supposedly interest in Sabathia that later turned out to be false. It could very well be a ploy by Sabathia’s agents to get more money from the Yanks.

We know the Yanks would be willing to up their offer if another team steps in, and perhaps Greg Genske is attempting a Scott Boras-like tactic. The Giants have major offensive woes, and signing CC would tie up nearly half their payroll in two pitchers. While Sabathia may want to pitch in the Bay Area, he won’t leave at least $30 million on the table, and if the Giants were to make a real offer, that would be the difference.

In an interview today, Giants’ GM Brian Sabean seemed to dance around the Sabathia issue. He knows the Giants can’t compete and dollars, and he knows it wouldn’t make much sense for San Francisco to commit so much to another pitcher. They may, in principle, be interested, but I don’t see a fit here.

Stark bites on the Sabathia/Golden State Warriors report

Just this morning, we predicted that some reporter somewhere would make note of the fact that Bay Area native and resident CC Sabathia attended a game of his home-town Golden State Warriors as a sign that he maybe, might, could sign with the Giants. Little did I realize it would be ESPN national baseball writer Jayson Stark. In a blog post that lists every reason why the Giants shouldn’t sign Sabathia and then posits that they might anyway, Stark plays up the fact that CC went to a Warriors game. When will the media ever learn?

Report: Angels not interested in CC

We haven’t checked in on CC Sabathia in a few days, and it looks like there’s a new development. The Angels’ GM has told MLB.com that the team is still focused on Mark Teixeira and hasn’t been in on the CC Sabathia sweeps. This story is contrary to a report last week, and it’s beginning to make me wonder what Sabathia is waiting. Of course, I understand that he wants more offers to push up his eventual price, but right now, the Yanks are clearly the only team with an offer on the table. If this isn’t resolved by the Winter Meetings, the Yanks would certainly have reason to start pushing Sabathia’s agent for a response.

Meanwhile, as long as Sabathia remains unsigned, Richard Justice will continue to publish drivel alleging that Joe Torre would have wrapped up the Sabathia deal weeks ago. Give me a break. It’s about economics, not some call from the manager.