Friday, October 14, 2011

Could CC Sabathia actually leave the Yankees?

CC Sabathia’s opt-out clause has been the topic of a lot of discussion since the New York Yankees were unceremoniously bounced from the playoffs, but the assumption has always been that he would come back after signing a new, richer, long-term deal. But is CC’s return to the Yankees automatic?

A report indicated that the Texas Rangers plan to make a big push for the Yankees ace. It cannot be easily dismissed. Unlike the Yankees, the Rangers have played in two straight American League Championship Series and are thisclose to returning to the World Series. The Rangers, after years of being known for their sluggers, have put a premium and focus on good pitching under an ownership group led by Hall of Famer and former Rangers pitching great Nolan Ryan. Plus, with a new television deal, they can easily afford to make CC a really great financial offer.

Would CC actually leave the Bronx to play deep in the heart of Texas? I doubt it. CC, unlike many free-agent signings, loves the glare of the New York spotlight. Sabathia, a father of four children, would probably want to avoid uprooting his family and the Sabathias have completely embraced the city and all it offers. He has already won a World Series championship with the Yankees and probably relishes the chance to win a few more and continue being treated like a king. Plus, no matter how much money the Rangers have, the Yankees can outbid them and CC has already shown he will sign for top dollar.

But I expect CC’s agent to play the Texas’ interest for all its worth, enhancing what is his already considerable leverage against the Yankees. The mere possibility of CC leaving is enough to make things interesting this offseason and maybe even make the Yankees sweat a little bit.

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