More on CC’s opt-out and the likeliness of it being exercised

Cliff Lee‘s deal, per Cot’s:

  • 2011: $11M (age 32)
  • 2012: $21.5M (age 33)
  • 2013: $25M (age 34)
  • 2014: $25M (age 35)
  • 2015: $25M (age 36)
  • 2016: $27.5M club option ($12.5M buyout) (age 37)

CC Sabathia‘s deal, per Cot’s:

  • 2009: $14M (age 28)
  • 2010: $23M (age 29)
  • 2011: $23M (age 30)
  • 2012: $23M (age 31)
  • 2013: $23M (age 32)
  • 2014: $23M (age 33)
  • 2015: $23M (age 34)

A quick few charts to compare CC and Lee, at their like ages, via Fangraphs:

In short, the charts above show that CC’s been vastly more consistent, though Lee’s peaks (especially recently) are much higher. I’d rather take the consistent A- performance that CC delivers versus the A+/B performances that Lee has posted. Could Lee have reset his standards and be in the midst of a Pedro-late 90’s/early-00’s run? I won’t say no, only because that level of excellence is incredibly rare to maintain. Moving to the NL certainly helps Lee’s case.

There’s no reason for CC for not to ask for the identical deal that Lee got. To not do so would leave $30+ million on the table. No matter how much money a person has, leaving that much on the table would be a poor business decision.

Of course, that doesn’t mean it’s a slam-dunk good decision for the Yanks. Looking at the possible available “replacements” for CC should he opt-out AND leave doesn’t make any Yankees fan feel very good.  There were concerns then when CC signed his deal that his weight and even heavier work load would make this contract an albatross in the out years, so how could adding another three years make an extension a good decision? [Yes, I am calling it an extension, though by definition it would be a new contract, not an extension.]

My concerns, as I said in December 2008, first here:

Gotta say, if CC performs SO well that he wants to opt out of the remaining four years, that’d be great. Great that the Yanks got three great years. Great that they could be out of the balance of the deal which is where the risk lies.

And two days later, here:

Ya know what, I’ll take three kickass years from CC and then worry about replacing him, and not worrying about the last few years.

Of course, I/we knew very little about what the 2012 free agent starting pitching market would look like in December 2008. I’m legitimately concerned about CC’s long term health and ability to take the ball 34 times a year for the next seven years, on top of his already tremendous work load. Perhaps CC’s one of those rare birds who can handle all the innings with little damage to his left wing. He had off-season knee surgery and lost a bunch of weight, so that’s a good idea. I hope it helps.

My prediction: CC will indeed opt-out and simply re-sign with the Yanks with the contract stretched out three more years. And a heaping serving of panic for all of us to try to digest until it’s officially done.

Just don’t let Hank near the board room when the negotiations are taking place.

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4 thoughts on “More on CC’s opt-out and the likeliness of it being exercised

  1. I liked your initial take, back in '08; funny how things change. The last four years of CC's contract still are far from a lock – making it 7 more, at more money – yikes.

    otoh, looking at our rotation – unless at least 4 of the B's turn out to be aces this year, the thought of 2012 and 2013 without CC looks to be bleak. Don't spose Hank could talk CC into two more years at any money he wants, with a team option in 4 years. Maybe even with a buyout.

    Can live with a hefty raise; hefty raise + 3 more years – gah.

  2. Like has been repeatedly stated here, I am not surprised either. Makes sense for CC to opt out. I don't intend to jinx him, but talk about a workhorse, the guy's innings the past 4 years: 241, 253, 230, 238. The least innings he's ever had is 180 (as a rookie); he's only had less than 30 starts once (28 + 1 in AAA in 2006). There's no reason to believe this won't continue. His motion is nice and smooth, and he repeats it with remarkable consistency. And if you notice his arm motion, he keeps his elbow below his shoulder (similar to other pitchers with great longevity like Randy Johnson, Nolan Ryan, and Greg Maddux).

  3. This will largely come down to who the Yankees trade for this season, and how their trio of top pitching prospects perform (Brackman, Banuelos, Betances). Frankly, if things work out on that end, could even see them taking the picks from Sabathia.

    But given the odds of all three of those pitchers continuing to dominate (which is to say, low), we may well see the "extension" come to pass.