CC Sabathia is about to become an incredibly wealthy man, even by professional sports standards. If reports out of New York are correct, he is about to sign a seven-year, $160 million contract. And I really hope he becomes a big hit with the Yankees fans, and the press, because he's a good man--a quintessential Gentle Giant--and if he doesn't pitch well in New York, or if he pitches well but stumbles in the post-season, i.e., A-Rod, the honeymoon may be rocky.
Speaking of a Giant, CC Sabathia may have been raised in Vallejo, but he was a Giants fan growing up, not an A's fan. And he confided to KCBS five years ago, before his first experience at free agency, that he would love to pitch for the Giants someday, that he loved their new balllpark, and loved the idea of wearing the Giants' black and orange. Alas, he re-signed with the Cleveland Indians, but then, this off-season, CC was a free-agent once again. And again, he had an opportunity to sign with the Giants. Or did he?
It's easy to assume that the reason Sabathia agreed to sign with the Yankees is because they offered him an obscene amount of money. My first thought was, wouldn't he be happier in the long run if he signed a $100 million contract with the Giants, so that he could continue living in his gorgeous new home in Fairfield, with his wife Amber and their three children, while pitching in a considerably less stressful and demanding environment? And then my second thought was that in the end, he's like virtually all the other professional athletes, in that they all sign where the most money is, that for all the talk about wanting to pitch for this team or that team, in this city or that, so the kids can attend this school system or maybe that one, the bottom line is that CC preferred $160 million from the Yankees, rather than $100 million from the Giants.
But then I quickly realized that, to the best of my knowledge, the Giants never actually made Sabathia an offer. Nor did the Dodgers. In fact, the Red Sox didn't either. The only two teams that made him a concrete offer were the Yankees and the Brewers ($100 million). So, in the end, CC may have really wanted to sign with the Giants, even for less money, but in the absence of a firm contract offer, combined with the manner in which the Yankees were opening the vault for him, Sabathia may have felt he had no other choice.
So CC Sabathia will pitch for the New York Yankees instead. Here's hoping that he starts off the 2009 season well, that the fans and press love watching him perform on the field, and appreciate his gentle civility and great sense of humor off of it.