CC Sabathia Changes Tune on Opt-Out Clause

cc sabathiaYankees ace CC Sabathia has an opt-out clause that he can exercise after the 2011 season and in the past he has always made it clear that he would not use it to leave the Bronx or even just try for more money. However, Joel Sherman of the NY Post notes that his tune on the matter has changed:

But in a one-on-one conversation with The Post afterward, Sabathia was given a few chances to definitively say he would not opt out — as he had previously — and did not. On one occasion he said, “Anything is possible in a contract.” In another, the big lefty said, “Who knows what is possible, but I am not thinking about anything beyond Opening Day.”

Asked if his agents had advised him to stop saying he would not opt out, Sabathia said, no, he was answering the questions as he saw fit. Interestingly, in explaining why he lost 25 pounds in the offseason, Sabathia said on a few occasions that he wants to pitch another eight to 10 years. He is entering Year 3 of his seven-year, $161 million contract with the Yankees.

Sabathia, 30, will earn $23 million in 2011 and then will have four years and $92 million left on his deal. That’s a serious amount of money, but with no other big name free agents on the market a year from now he’ll have a ton of leverage if, say, he wants a six or seven year deal.

He would probably get whatever he wanted too. Not only would he actually be a year younger than when Cliff Lee signed his five year $120 million deal, but without the big man the Yankees rotation would be a disaster. They would almost have to give him whatever he asked for and what would stop him from asking for, at the very least, five years and $144 million?

Sabathia has in the past expressed pretty emphatically that he would not opt-out. Even when he first signed his deal he said that the opt-out didn’t matter to him that it was something that his agent insisted upon but had nothing to do with him. So there is a chance that he sticks to that story and doesn’t opt-out. However, he has at least left the door open that he could exercise his right to be a free agent. If he didn’t use it, he would be the first big-name free agent who didn’t invoke the clause.

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5 Responses to CC Sabathia Changes Tune on Opt-Out Clause

  1. angryjohnny says:

    Doesn't look like the Yanks are in an enviable position.

    I blame it all on Arod…nobody wants to play on a team with that jerk

    • David K. says:

      That "jerk" A-Rod won a World Series for us in 2009. No, it has nothing to do with A-Rod and his 300 million dollar contract, it has to do with the amount of money Yankees were willing to give Cliff Lee. Sabathia saw that and now he's saying why not hold the team hostage for an even bigger contract. All depends on his performance in 2011, as well as some of their best pitching prospects. We have to hope one or two guys turn out to be A No. 1 starters. Then if Sabathia opts out, we can tell him to take a hike.

  2. Tono73 says:

    now here we go with c.c. of course he's going to stick it to the yankees!he signed on like most of them do hope'ng that he would be in a "Pennant Race"year after year.now that he's got a taste of how"dumb"cashman is,he's gonna want out.just take a look at what moves cashman did to up-grade the yankees!!yeau,that's what i thought you said,"what up-grade's"??????

  3. Hardcore Yankee Fan says:

    I don’t think CC wants to go anywhere else. I do think that this was inevitable as he could probably easily squeeze another $40-50M out of the Yankees for a couple more years added to the back end with the demand for pitching what it is and NO ONE available in next year’s free agent class.

  4. Joe says:

    Just to let the writers/editors know that they mislabeled the title of this piece in the box on the upper left. (changes turn)