(Long Island, N.Y.) When the offseason abruptly began for the New York Yankees, there were two moves that needed to be made before anything else was addressed. General manager Brian Cashman’s contract was up and it was basically a formality when he was re-signed.
Such was not the case with number one starter CC Sabathia, who had an opt-out clause in his contract that everyone expected him to use in order to get even more money. It was also the worst kept secret that he would stay in the Bronx, albeit with a fatter wallet.
But the lefthander decided not to make the move and will honor the remainder of his free agent contract he signed three years ago. But it’s not as if Sabathia is giving any hometown discount. He signed a one-year extension for $25 million and is now signed throughout the 2016 season, with a vesting team option for the following year.
“I was confident that we would get to an agreement,” Sabathia said to reporters. “I wanted to stay here, I wanted to be here, I love it here. I love pitching here, I love being a part of the Yankees organization and I’m so happy to be able to come to an agreement.”
With a 19-8, 3.00 ERA this past season, Sabathia, 31, was consistent on a staff that was anything but. He led the team to the American League East crown and a third consecutive playoff appearance. Since coming to New York, Sabathia is 59-23 with a 3.18 ERA and has been everything the Yankees expected.
On the eve of his own official return, Cashman commented on the Sabathia deal. “CC is the ace of our pitching staff, a leader in the clubhouse and a driving force for the Yankees in the community,” he said. “He is exactly the type (of) player that Yankees fans and this organization can be proud of. We are excited that he will be wearing the pinstripes for many years to come.”
Now Cashman can focus on surrounding Sabathia with other quality arms. While it will not be an easy task, it is one that the general manager welcomes. Following the signing of a three-year deal, he flat-out stated, “The main focus will be on the rotation.”
Exactly who he goes after remains to be seen, but a good bet is that C.J. Wilson will get a call from Cashman. The lefthanded ace of the Texas Rangers is expected to test the free agent waters and probably out price himself on returning to the two-time American League champions. The same scenario took place a year ago when Cliff Lee was all but wearing pinstripes before the Phillies swooped in with an 11th hour deal to bring him to Philadelphia.
Besides Wilson, the other big names on the market are righthanders Mark Buehrle (White Sox) and Roy Oswalt (Phillies). The Yankees will no doubt make very generous offers to one if not all of them, depending on how the market is.
But that is all second compared to bringing back their two most important names in Cashman and Sabathia.