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?
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.
To raise or not to raise? That is the question, and it’s one on which Ken Davidoff can’t quite get a handle. As MLBTR notes, yesterday, Davidoff’s sources said the Yanks would not raise their offer to CC Sabathia. Today, Davidoff reports that the Yankees would go higher if the Angels ever get around to making a bid. Meanwhile, unless something drastic happens, it seems as though CC will remain unsigned through the weekend. Alas.
The Angels sure are being a bit of a thorn in everyone’s side. They may or may not be moving on Mark Teixeira. They may or may not be moving on CC Sabathia. While everyone else wants for a domino, any domino, to fall in this excruciatingly slow free agent season, the Angels are gumming up the works.
Now along comes word that perhaps the Angels aren’t too serious about CC Sabathia after all. Mark Feinsand serves as the outlet for a few unnamed Yankee sources and their intriguing speculation:
The Angels reportedly are readying themselves to jump into the CC Sabathia sweepstakes, but the Yankees met the news with relative indifference, still believing their offer ultimately will be the biggest and best…
One Yankees official didn’t seem too concerned with the news of the Angels’ supposed interest in Sabathia, which the Bombers believe is designed primarily to speed things up with Teixeira and his agent, Scott Boras.
“It sounds like they’re trying to get a message to Teixeira,” the official said. “That’s the guy they really want.”
The Angels have publicly said that Teixeira is their top priority, and the team probably needs him in the long-term more than they need CC Sabathia. So they bluff. They take the money they would have spent on Teixeira and toss it at Sabathia. At the same time, the Angels can drive up Sabathia’s price for the Yanks. My, how the wheel turns.
Could this bluff work? Sure. And if it doesn’t, then perhaps the Angels insert themselves into the Sabathia talks or go after Manny Ramirez. They need offense after all. In New York, we just sit and wait.
It’s Thanksgiving eve, and things are slow around baseball. To that end, this is your open thread for the next few hours. If something happens, we’ll have the news, but otherwise, enjoy the time with your family. Remember: Baseball news has a funny way of unfolding over Thanksgiving weekend.
Via MLB Trade Rumors we learn that the Angels are having discussions with CC Sabathia. While the timing comes somewhat of a surprise — the Angels still haven’t made an offer to Mark Teixeira — it was assumed from the start that the Halos would get involved. LA Times scribe Bill Shaikin notes that the Angels are reluctant to offer Tex the 10 years he seeks. Of course, Scott Boras will neither confirm nor deny the first baseman’s intentions.
No offer has been officially extended, however it is believed that the Angels could offer something “in the range of Johan Santana’s six-year, $137.5-million contract.” Clearly, the term “in the range” could mean a number of things. Will they offer a little less? A little more? Will they match the Yankees reported six-year, $140 million offer? Or did they just leak this story to show Teixeira that they’re serious?
(You have 24 hours to sign our contract. And to show you we’re serious…you have 12 hours.)
We know that Sabathia could opt for the West Coast, even if the Yankees offer the largest contract. That scenario becomes more likely if the Angels offer him a deal better than Santana’s, even if it’s not by much. The Yanks would surely up their bid under that scenario, but how much, if anything, would be enough?
Missing out on CC could mean a number of changes to the off-season plan. The focus could shift to Teixeira. If signed, Nick Swisher would move to the outfield. Do you dish Damon or Nady at that point? Do you go into the season with an OF of Nady-Damon-Swisher and hope for the best defensively?
There aren’t any easy answers to these questions. Yet the Yankees may be faced with them in the coming weeks. I do not envy Brian Cashman right now.
Hal Steinbrenner cause a mini ruckus last week when he said, in regards to CC Sabathia, that: “We made an offer. It’s not going to be there forever.” That sounds like a pretty Hank-ian statement, reminiscent of his “Hughes is on the table, but only for two days” ultimatum towards Minnesota last off-season. Thankfully, Jon Heyman puts the statement into the proper perspective, citing someone within the Yanks organization. No, it won’t be on the table forever, but they won’t pull the offer anytime soon. So can we please just forget Hal ever opened his mouth?
We know there’s plenty of big news to come in the baseball world. Nearly every free agent is still in play, so we’re not only going to get news of their signings, but we’re also going to get news from teams of interest. Who’s in on whom; who just made a mega-offer; where does Player X really want to play? It’s what makes the Hot Stove so damn exciting.
However, we shouldn’t expect anything huge to happen over the next few weeks. There’s going to be a lull this week because of the holiday, and then next week because it’s the week before the biggest event of the off-season, the Winter Meetings in Las Vegas. You might hear some rumblings, but it’s doubtful that anything gets done before December 8.
Writers, of course, still need to file material. You’ll probably see some regurgitated news here at RAB over the next two weeks. It’s just the nature of the beast. That doesn’t mean, however, that we can’t make fun of the kind of news that’s popping up. Perhaps that’s the best way to deal with the dearth of activity to come.
Today we first turn to Buster Olney, who riffs on the idea of CC Sabathia and LeBron James playing in New York. This on the heels of the Knicks recent trades, which gives them significant cap relief in the 2010 off-season, when James will be a free agent. Olney notes the friendship between the two:
Sabathia developed a friendship, through his years in Cleveland, with LeBron James, as the two became the biggest stars in a small town. They have bopped around New York together in the past, and on Friday, the Knicks made trades that are being viewed as precursors to their pursuit, in another 20 months, of James.
Presumably, at some point, Sabathia and James have shared a conversation about living and playing in New York at the same time — Sabathia for the Yankees, James for the Knicks. James, as the world famously learned in the playoffs of 2007, is a Yankees fan.
Olney makes the conclusion that this could potentially be one of the intangibles which attracts CC to the Yanks. You come into California and conquer, yeah, big whoop. You come to New York and conquer, man, that’s something else. It’s not like it’s easy to do, even for the most elite athlete. Just ask A-Rod.
Then we have Randy Youngman, columnist for the Orange County Register. His Saturday article features the headline “Angels likely not on Teixeira’s wish list,” and the subhead is “The free-agent first baseman seems to be leaning towards and East Coast team.” The key word in that header is “seems.” Because what follows is nothing more than an ill-informed opinion.
Knowing agent Scott Boras’ affinity for the big stage, I’m guessing Teixeira’s headline-grabbing signing will be announced during baseball’s winter meetings Dec. 8-11 in Las Vegas. What better place for the rich to get richer?
But I don’t think it will be with the Angels. If he were going to re-sign in Anaheim, I think it already would have happened. Just a gut feeling. Even the people I talk to in the organization don’t seem optimistic.
Has Youngman never experienced a hot stove season before? Thing like this take time to develop. If Scott Boras is your agent, you probably aren’t going to give a hometown discount (there was apparently a lot of strife between the agent and Andruw Jones after he took a discount to stay in Atlanta a few years ago). The Angels will surely make an offer, and it could very well be competitive enough to keep him. If the rumblings have any merit — eight years, $160 million — you can probably pencil Tex into the Angels’ starting line up for 2009 and beyond.
These are just some examples of what you can expect to see in the coming weeks. We’ll try to be on our best behavior, but sometimes you just gotta point these things out.