Backlash to CC Sabathia Opting Out of Yankees Deal is Undeserved

As many of us have been expecting for months now, CC Sabathia is planning to opt-out of his 7 year, $161 million contract with the Yankees.  The backlash from fans has been significant, and can be expected only to get worse as this news is made official after midnight tonight.  But this outrage is irrational and entirely undeserved.

As fans, we fall victim to the ideas of team loyalty, and a player’s dedication to remain with one team for his entire career without being “greedy” and worrying about money.  But it is not so simple.

From a young age, we all dream of strapping on the Yankees uniform, and playing under the bright lights of the Bronx.  We think that players must feel the same way, forgetting the fact that to them, it is a job.  To them, this is how they make their livelihood, and because they have such a small window to earn money, a window which any fluke injury could slam shut within seconds, it is understandably their prerogative to squeeze out almost every last penny while they still can.

CC Sabathia may not have been lying when he said he loves it in New York, nor was his agent lying when he said that the two will exhaust all efforts to sign with the Yankees.  For all we know, he may not even consider moving away from New York, he simply wishes to add more years and guaranteed money to the four years and $92 million he is currently owed.

Yes; to us, that seems a bit ridiculous.  After all, $92 million is a great deal of money.  But what if Sabathia’s arm blows out before the four years are up?  No team will offer him anywhere close to the type of money he stands to gain currently.  Consequently, the decision not to opt out would cost the lefty nearly $50 million.

Take A.J. Burnett for example.  Before he signed with the Yankees for five years and $82.5 million, he opted out of the final two years and $24 million contract with the Blue Jays.  Let’s say hypothetically that Burnett stayed with the Jays and his career followed the same path.  He would have made peanuts following the 2010 season compared to what he is currently making.  Not opting out of his current contract would have cost him almost $60 million.

There have also been many comparisons to the A-Rod opt out of 2007, one which even Brian Cashman was peeved at.  But there is a difference which makes these two situations incomparable.  As part of the deal which brought Rodriguez from Texas, the Rangers agreed to pay about $9 million per year, making him one of the great bargains in the game for the Yankees.  (Weird thing to say, I know.)  By opting out of the contract rather than trying to work an extension, A-Rod let the Rangers off the hook and cost the Yankees $27 million.

We all get peeved when a player searches for a better opportunity to make money, and we seem to forget about all the hard work that player had given us over the years.  Perhaps the easiest way of accepting players’ actions is to equate them to your own.

Let’s say you have a great job which pays $100,000, and for years you have worked your tail off for that great salary.  But you feel you could make $150,000 working elsewhere, so you explore your options.  This is an acceptable practice, one which no one would berate.

I have made it clear what I think of CC Sabathia as a pitcher.  For the past three years, CC has been the definition of an ace.  He has been a workhorse, throwing ~250 dominant innings per year with the playoffs taken into account, and last season was his best as a Yankee.  He has been worth every penny thus far, so why not give him another market-value contract.

We constantly blame players for the ridiculous amounts of money which they receive, but they are simply taking advantage of a lucrative market.  In the end, players are not any more greedy than you or me, they are merely every bit as rational.

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16 Responses to Backlash to CC Sabathia Opting Out of Yankees Deal is Undeserved

  1. Mike says:

    the author is on drugs. when you make $100 million and others have no food you can't say "my family needs my income" is absurd. CC makes more in 1 year than most of the PLANET makes in a lifetime.
    professional sports have become incredibly disgusting.

    • Alex Taffet says:

      It is not about "need" in this case. Of course CC doesn't NEED any more money than he already has. But even though he doesn't need it, why would he not try to make as much as possible? And yes, it may be absurd that players are paid so much money. However, it is not CC's or any other players fault. It is the market's fault, and our fault as fans for funding it as much as we do.

      • Mike says:

        the clause was in case he was unhappy with living in NY, not to get more money, he is not playing fair. of course that is they way most people play the game, especially the 1%ers

    • This is one of the the worst-written sports articles I have ever read.
      Alex you should read what Weaver said: “If $85 (million) is not enough to take care of my family and other generations of families then I’m pretty stupid, but how much money do you really need in life?”

      Weaver took less money, Mauer took less money, Lee took less money, guys like them gain more respect.

  2. Alex Taffet says:

    It's all about negotiation, of course his is playing the game. But so was Cash when he added the opt out clause. All Cash wanted to do was to pry CC away from the west coast; it was not CC who asked for the opt out. Of course he publicly said that the clause was in case CC wasn't happy, but nowhere in the contract does it stipulate that CC can ONLY opt out if his family is unhappy.

  3. Mike says:

    I have given up on all professional sports, except for the Yankees. Professional sports has become incredibly disgustingly greedy. 1 in 6 americans don't have enough to eat and these bastards complain they have to watch out for their family and every last million is critical to their survival.
    If I grew up wanting to play ball and had a life long dream come true and got to play, what is the real difference between making $150 million and $160 million.
    I will not make $2million in MY ENTIRE life working 50 years. yet these people complain about making $200 million in 20 years.
    agents like Boras are evil examples of the human race and should be executed for crimes against humanity.
    remember billions of humans don't have clean water !!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Susan says:

      I have a way with words, but I couldn't have said it better myself Mike. I'm about ready to give up on pro sports myself for the same reasons. There is NO defending CC in this case, he's just another one of the greedy bastards. Most of us are living through the second great depression, watching every penny and now you get this from one of our Yankees. Then again it's our own fault for putting in a ridiculous opt out clause.

    • David K. says:

      Executing Boras might be a little extreme, he's just doing his job (and doing it well I might add). The reason I don't want to throw any more money at Sabathia has nothing to do with greed because this is economics, it's market driven. The reason we should say goodbye to CC is that adding a 7 or 8 year megacontract is just stupid. We gave him the correct length contract at the time he signed. He wanted the opt out, so Cashman gave in to that. No harm, no foul. If we give him a new mega deal with the additional years, he will putter out after one or two years and we'll have to eat the rest. A-Rod's deal is enough baggage for one team to carry. Let's not add another one. We can go a different route and still make the playoffs next year. CC can join Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee in Philly, then maybe Philly gets eliminated in four games next year instead of five! Ha Ha.

  4. Karl says:

    The author of this article says that these players desere to make their money while the window of opportunity is open, and likens these Mega-Deals to someone making 100k a year. The two salaries arent even comparable. I make 100k as an ER Nurse, and had to pick up a second job to make ends meet. CC and the rest Jeter, A-Rod are greedy and should be ashamed to ask for more. Maybe they shouldn't build 20million dollar mansions. Their salaries are made from people like us who attend games. There is no way to bring your family to a ball game. hundreds for tickets, 35 dollars to park and then food and drinks, its a $500 day.. and CC didnt even do that well last year. Couldnt beat Boston, the team he needs to beat. I say let him go and try to get the money and length of contract elsewhere. Does he really believe he will be a 25Mil/year pitcher when he is a fat 38 year old?

  5. Gene Kinnaly says:

    so, he's owed 92 mil but will opt out to get MORE?? how much more does he need to live a comfortable life? Get Real!

  6. Susan says:

    .It's being reported that he isn't going to opt out now but got more money anyway.

    • He is getting a lot of money but at least It's fair what CC is doing, an extension and not opting out,
      But what this guy wrote,
      I'm Mexican, In my country a lot of people is working wit drugdealers giving away their lifes to supports their families, people in poor areas have nothing to eat, If we talk about some places in Africa or Center America is even worst,
      Like Jered Weaver said: how much money do you really need in life?” What some atheletes do is an offense to humanity.

  7. Tanned Tom says:

    I'm sorry, but what's wrong with Sabathia getting every penny he's worth? Who would you rather see have it, a player who is a star performer and has earned it, or two spoiled brat sons of the biggest horse's ass to ever own a team in NYC who have inherited it? Because that's the choice, the money is not going back in our pockets, it's going back into the Steinbrenner's. You want ballplayers to make less, then stop supporting the team. Stop watching them on cable, stop going to the ballpark, stop buying merchandise. Until folks do that, then all this whining is misplaced. I'd rather see the players get rich then the owners. If you're reformist oriented, or consider yourself part of the 99%, then the least you can do is support labor over ownership. The problem isn't that ballplayers are highly paid, it's that our society values new stadiums built with taxpayer dollars over public transportation or good schools or universal health care.

  8. shavager says:

    Stop attending sports events, stop buying the promotional items such as jerseys, caps, stop supporting these athletes like they are godly in the competition they participate in, you will bring down the salaries and costs. Listen to the analysts doing play by play whether it's NBA, MLB, NFL–such "great plays", "no one in this position could make that play but this player"–ALL HOGWASH–plays like they make are routinely accomplished in high school, college and minors every year. It's all about marketing and celebrity–these "celebrity athletes" are no different than movie, TV stars–in the end, none are any more important than the fans that support them, none have any more immortality than the rest of US. I rarely watch professional games any more–college football gives fans just as much excitement, "real" competition as the pros. Less phony athletes, players giving their all just for the sport.

  9. Henry says:

    Sounds to me like we are starting to see a rebellion against baseball's high salary's. It is about time. I am starting to read more posts then before regarding that. The wall street rebellion in growing bigger.

  10. Tom says:

    at least CC uses his money for inner-city programs for kids. He isn't as horrible about it as some other athletes, and I'd rather it go to them for their work than stay in a billionaire owner's pocket