By Michael Axisa
It's been 19 days since the Yanks slapped a six-year, $140 million-contract offer down in front of CC Sabathia and his agent Greg Genske, but they haven't gotten so much as a counteroffer in return. While everybody but Sabathia has said he prefers the west coast and National League, no teams fitting that description have expressed interest in the burly lefthander now that the Angels' GM has debunked their reported interest. Nearly three weeks later, Sabathia is still looking at the same two offers; the Yanks' offer, and the Brewers' original $100M offer.
The Hot Stove League has been slow to develop this year, but the action has picked up recently in the wake of the arbitration deadline. After acquiring ex-Yank Javy Vazquez yesterday, the Braves have moved onto free agent righty A.J. Burnett today, reportedly preparing to offer a guaranteed five-year deal worth $15-16M per year. It's starting to reach the point that the Yanks can begin to apply some pressure to Sabathia's camp for a response.
None of the alternatives to Sabathia are as appealing as the Baseball America's Major League Player of the Year. Padres' GM Kevin Towers appears to be backed into a corner now that the Braves have moved on from acquiring Jake Peavy, and now may get stuck accepting a lesser package for arguably the most dominant starting pitcher in franchise history (similar to what happened with Bill Smith and Johan Santana last year), but there isn't any indication that Peavy will approve a trade
to the Bombers. Derek Lowe is also available, but Scott Boras isn't known for swift negotiations. Ben Sheets is hurt, Oliver Perez is extremely unappealing to an AL Team because of his astronomical walk total, and Jon Garland is nothing more than a innings eating Sidney Ponson (the difference between the two pitchers last year was one extra run every 64 IP). The Yanks don't want to get caught waiting around for Sabathia to make up his mind and have the rest of the quality pitching market pass them by.
With a need to acquire three starters (one of whom they hope will be a discounted Andy Pettitte) and the Winter Meetings set to begin in five days, the Yanks aren't in a position to wait around for Sabathia to dictate their offseason moves. Even if they just got an idea of which way CC was leaning, they could begin to move forward with the rest of their offseason plans. I'm not asking for Sabathia to sign today, just some dialogue would be nice.