“Their hope is to present Sabathia with an offer he is agreeable with before he opts out,’’ said a person with knowledge of the Yankees’ thinking told the Post.
They apparently are looking to avoid offering him a seven or eight year deal by offering him five or six years with a raise on his average $23 million annual salary.
Cliff Lee currently earns $24 million per season or the highest average annual salary for a pitcher. So the Yankees may have to go as high as six-years and $144 million or higher to keep Sabathia from opting-out.
They would probably prefer a five-year $125 million deal, but that would probably be best case scenario at this point. Sabathia has the largest total contract for a pitcher at $161 million, hopefully he doesn’t expect them to top that.
The Yankees are in a bind here as Sabathia’s value to the organization has been so great and there are no pitchers on the free agent or trade market that even come close to the type of caliber that he represents. So they have to give him whatever it’ll take to get a deal done.
If the Yankees can’t keep Sabathia from opting-out it seems unlikely that he would return at all. They would simply be setting the bar for contract negotiations and even if another team outbid the Yankees it would not be by a significant amount. He’s talked so much about how much he likes it here, it’s time for him to put his money where his mouth is.