December 11, 2008

Good sign for Yankees - Sabathia

Have the New York Yankees gone back to being . . . you know, the Evil Empire New York Yankees?

They are the richest, most powerful entity in sports. They have built a $1.3 billion stadium with all the bells and whistles. Good economy, bad economy. No matter. CC Sabathia, Derek Lowe, A.J. Burnett, Manny Ramírez, and/or Mark Teixeira.

The Yankees, who agreed to terms with Sabathia on a seven-year, $161 million deal yesterday, can and may sign more than a couple of the other prominent free agents.

They have always been on an island by themselves in terms of what they can afford. They have tried to scale back that approach, trying to go the farm system route, but at the end of the day they revert to what they do best - they buy the best available players, partly because some of their homegrown players (Melky Cabrera, Phil Hughes, and Ian Kennedy, to name a few) haven't made the splash they'd hoped.

So it came as no surprise to Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein that the Yankees opened the vault, and they may open it once or twice more for Lowe and/or Burnett and perhaps Ramírez when all is said and done.

"Nothing surprises me anymore," said Epstein. "[Sabathia is] clearly the top pitcher on the market. He pitched great and he deserves to be rewarded. What he did down the stretch with Milwaukee was really admirable and great for baseball. He pitched his team to the playoffs. He took the ball on three days' rest and that was fun to watch. I have a lot of respect for what he did."

In the end the Yankees gave Sabathia $61 million more - and two more years - than the Brewers offered. It was the only other offer on the table. The Giants had decided Sabathia was too rich for them despite his hometown interest. The Red Sox met with him Monday and came away impressed, but an offer was never made, according to major league sources. Epstein said that even before the winter meetings here, he felt Sabathia would be a Yankee.

"Yeah, any time a team offers, which at the time was more than $40 million more and could go up to more than $60 million more than anyone else, there's a pretty good chance he's going to sign," said Epstein. "It was a strong signing by the Yankees."

Has it always worked out? No. Take the years 2001-08, for example, when the Yankees were shut out of the world championship. And last season marked the first time in 14 years they didn't make the playoffs. When that happens, you know the Yankees are going to spend money. Sabathia's deal is downright crazy for a guy whose weight was listed by the Brewers as 311 pounds. Continued...

Source: Boston Red Sox

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