Yankees to Sign C.C. Sabathia

The New York Yankees are on the verge of signing C.C. Sabathia to a 7-year, $160M contract.

Word is that the contract includes an opt-out clause after two years. Which to me, is a huge red flag signifying that Sabathia is not so sure he can make it in New York.

I could be wrong. C.C.’s decision to leave the Yankees’ original $140M offer on the table for three weeks could have been a negotiating ploy. His leaked overtures of preferring to play on the West Coast may have been posturing. His purchase of a new home in California may have meant nothing.

One of his latest meetings with Yankees GM Brian Cashman was reportedly about “the New York lifestyle”. Apparently, Sabathia had to be convinced he’d be just fine on the biggest stage in the world.

From the New York Times:

The team’s general manager, Brian Cashman, left the Bellagio hotel late Tuesday afternoon to fly to San Francisco to meet in person with Sabathia for the third day in a row. In two meetings here the Yankees had talked mainly about lifestyle concerns with Sabathia, a native of Vallejo, Calif., who ideally wanted to pitch close to home.

Again, it could have all been one big negotiation ploy to suck another 20 million dollars from the Bronx Bombers, who were bidding against themselves. But there’s a really good chance that C.C., who has pitched only in the small, forgiving markets of Cleveland and Milwaukee, is scared to death of New York City.

For his sake, I hope that’s not the case. From all accounts he is a great kid, and there are no doubts about his talent. Keith Hernandez and Mike Mussina learned to love New York … though the issue is more about handling the pressure of being viewed as some kind of savior to a World Series-starved franchise than fitting in with the hustle and bustle of the big city.

Good luck, C.C. … if you can make it here, you’ll make it anywhere.

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Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.