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.
We all know by now that CC Sabathia is sitting on a few $100-million offers. The Brewers seem willing to give him $100 million over five years; the Yanks would like his services for six years at $140 million.
On the surface, this doesn’t seem like a tough decision. The Yankees are offering more stability in term sof the number of years and more money in pure dollars. If only life — and baseball — were that simple.
In an excellent piece of analysis earlier this week, Jeff Sackman at Brew Crew Ball examined how these two offers aren’t as different as the media would make them out to be. First, we have the issue of average annual value. The Brewers are reportedly offering $20 million a season while the Yanks’ contract comes in at $23.3 million. If Sabathia truly does enjoy the NL and Milwaukee, would a meager $3.3 million per season be enough to convince him to come to New York?
But more importantly, is that really a difference of $3.3 million per year? Using some cost-of-living adjustments and basic economic assumptions, the Brew Crew Ball has put together a spreadsheet tracking the two offers. Sackman provides the explanation:
Depending on to what degree Sabathia wants to engage with his new community, that’ll be more expensive in New York. First and foremost, he’ll pay more taxes as a part- or full-time resident of NYC. If he wants to buy a celeb-style compound for his family, it might take $20MM for such a place on Long Island; for the same amount, he could probably buy Manitowoc.
This is a tough adjustment for us to figure, because we don’t know just how much money CC would spend in NY or MKE. With that caveat, I think the taxes alone would come close to an extra 10% bite on Yankees earnings. Mykenk’s spreadsheet estimates something closer to 15%, which isn’t all that far-fetched, either.
So…if we use the 10% number, $140 looks more like $126–a yearly value of just barely more than the Brewers offer. If we up that to 15%, the Yankees are down to $119, or slightly less on an annualized basis.
Now, as Sackman, notes there are plenty of other considerations to take into account. The total value figure of the Yanks’ offer is fairly shocking and would certainly set the bar high for future free agent pitchers. Sabathia’s odds of winning a championship are higher in New York than in Milwaukee. The players association may pressure CC into taking the higher offer.
But in the end, Sackman has a point that I hope the Yanks and CC’s agent understand. The Yanks’ offer just isn’t as high as we all thought, and perhaps, that’s one of the reasons why Sabathia’s camp has remained silent on the state of the lefty’s free agency.
Who isn’t involved in the CC Sabathia trade talks? Based upon numerous reports, we know the Yankees and the Brewers have outstanding offers, and we know Yankee fans are getting restless. But that’s just silly. Anyway, we’ll get there in a second.
As Wednesday progressed, two new teams supposedly entered the mix. In the early afternoon, Dan Graziano noted an impending offer out of San Francisco.
(An aside: Would the Giants really commit nearly over $40 million a season — or more than half of their 2008 payroll — to two pitchers? I realize the team has few contractual commitments past next year, but if they land CC for $23 million a season, they’d be paying Sabathia, Zito and Aaron Rowand a combined $55-$60 million a year. For a team of limited financial means, that combination won’t bring in pennants.)
But the real news came just a few minutes ago when two Newsday reporters unveiled a not-so-shocking report: CC Sabathia will not be deciding upon anything until after Thanksgiving. While Sabathia is content to wait, these offers on which Graziano speculated aren’t quite as sure a bet, according to Ken Davidoff and Anthony Rieber:
The Yankees are content to let CC Sabathia take his time on his big decision, and Sabathia will do just that. As first reported by ESPN’s Peter Gammons, Sabathia doesn’t intend to decide on his next team until after the Thanksgiving weekend.
But for Sabathia, who is well known to prefer both the West Coast and the National League, alternatives to the Yankees’ six-year offer (for about $140 million) don’t appear to be materializing.
Although the Dodgers have some interest in Sabathia, they are not optimistic they can put together a package large enough to land the lefthander, a person familiar with their thinking said. The Dodgers “can’t afford him,” the person said.
It’s the same old story with the non-New York potentials. The Brewers can’t afford him; the Giants shouldn’t afford him; the Dodgers want Manny and can’t afford both. Why then is Sabathia sitting on a six-year, $140-million offer? Simple; he’s just being a good businessman.
Why would a player with the potential to become the richest pitcher in baseball make a decision with no leverage? Why shouldn’t Sabathia wait to see if a West Coast team plays its cards just right to make the Yankees up their offer to $150 million or tack on a seventh season? It doesn’t make sense to sign right away, and both the Yankees and Carsten Charles know that. New York’s offer isn’t going anywhere and neither is CC quite yet.
Doug Melvin, the Brewers’ GM, who probably wants Sabathia, knows that patience right now is the name of the game. In a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article focusing around the Giants, Melvin waxes philosophical on the CC situation. Sabathia and his agent will solicit counter-offers once all of the primary offers are in. That’s just the way business works.
So we wait. Some of us wait more impatiently than others, but it’s all just part of one big negotiation. In fact, we’re not the only ones waiting. Every other big-name free agent pitcher is waiting for CC to sign too. He and the team that signs him set the market, and everyone knows it.
The Yanks have done their part, and now the rest of the league will do its part as well. Be it ten days, two weeks or a month, we’ll find out before Spring Training which team lands Sabathia. Everything in between is just the Hot Stove League turned up high.