Yankees ready to sign CC Sabathia

There was talk about wanting the opportunity to hit, to play for his home state and the desire to be a Dodger. But in the end, it was all about the money.

CC Sabathia is on the verge of signing a seven-year contract with the New York Yankees worth at least $160 million according to ESPN.

CC SabathiaAfter three straight days of face-to-face meetings between GM Brian Cashman and Sabathia, the big lefty decided he wants to spend the next six years of his career as a Yankee. The decision came late last night after Cashman flew to see Sabathia at his home in San Francisco. By the time the meeting was concluded, Sabathia had informed the Yankees that he had made his decision to call New York his baseball home, the Post has learned.

There are still minor hurdles to finalize, notably that Sabathia must pass a physical. But after so much belief that Sabathia was stalling because he wanted to avoid New York, he agreed to the largest pitching contract in major league history, at least $140 million.

It means that the Yankees have lassoed the player they were building their offseason around: An ace in his prime. Sabathia is just 28, and last year between the Indians and Brewers he went 17-10 with a 2.70 ERA. The previous season he won the AL Cy Young. Now he is the first major new piece to be put into the new Yankee Stadium.

Should we be surprised? No. Money talks and the Yankees have a lot of it. Maybe he had other reasons to sign with the Bronx Bombers that aren’t being reported yet, but it really appears that the cash trumped all.

You have to hand it to the Yankees. They had to get pitching this offseason and they landed the biggest fish in the free agency pond. But it’ll be interesting to see if CC goes the way of Mike Hampton, Barry Zito and all of the other pitchers who got massive free agency deals and then effectively became dog crap. Either way, the Yankees got their guy.

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CC Sabathia wants to be a Dodger

According to general manager Ned Colletti, free agent pitcher CC Sabathia wants to be in Dodger blue next season.

CC SabathiaDodgers general manager Ned Colletti told ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark on Monday that he ran into the free agent on Sunday night in a hotel lobby and the left-hander told him that he wants to be a Dodger.

Although the New York Yankees and Milwaukee Brewers have made offers to the prize of the free-agent class, speculation continued that Sabathia would want to play near the home he is building in Southern California.

Sabathia did meet with the Yankees on Sunday and Monday, and his representatives spoke with the Brewers on Monday.

According to a baseball man with knowledge of the meeting, Sabathia wanted to meet with the Yankees on Sunday because he’s “trying to gather information” about the franchise and New York.
Sabathia and his agent, Greg Genske, met for about 2½ hours on Sunday with Yankees GM Brian Cashman, manager Joe Girardi and adviser Reggie Jackson. And the main focus of the conversation, the source said, was whether Sabathia wants to be a Yankee.

Cashman met alone with Sabathia and his representatives on Monday.

Many insist that Sabathia will eventually take the money and wind up in New York, but his desire to hit and play in his home state seem to be more appealing at this point. The Dodgers seem like a perfect fit for the three things Sabathia wants – his home state, money and the opportunity to hit. The other two California teams that have shown interest – the Angels and Giants – only seem to be trying to drive up the market value for the ace with the Yankees and Dodgers being the two main players in the Sabathia sweepstakes.

Big Unit heading to San Francisco?

Randy Johnson might soon be chasing his 300th win in San Francisco next year, as he’s considering playing for the Giants in 2009.

The 45-year-old left-hander is keen on extending his career, and he will consider pitching in either San Francisco or Oakland next season, according to a report in the San Francisco Chronicle.

A local from nearby Walnut Creek and a graduate of Livermore High School, Johnson is familiar with the territory and has pitched and excelled in both American and National Leagues. Last season, Johnson went 11-10 with a 3.91 ERA in 30 starts for the Diamondbacks while pitching in his 21st big league season.

But the Giants and A’s would not be alone in pursuit of Johnson, as there have been a number of inquiries.

“We’ve had about 10 teams contact us,” said Barry Meister, one of Johnson’s agents. “We’ve had discussions with a lot of teams in general, including the Giants. The Giants have expressed interest in us.

This actually wouldn’t be such a bad move for the Giants. They have a spot open in their rotation because they chased off Kevin Corriea, and their two top picks from the 2007 draft (Madison Bumgarner and Tim Alderson) are still a year or two away from joining the big league club. Even at 45-years old, a team could do a lot worse than the Big Unit. And with CY Young Winner Tim Lincecum, as well as improving youngsters Matt Cain and Jonathan Sanchez at the front of the rotation, maybe Johnson can mask Barry Zito’s awful performances. (He would also be a hell of a lot cheaper than CC Sabathia, who the Giants have been linked to as well this offseason.)

Yankees believe they’re the only serious suitors for CC Sabathia

From Ken Davidoff at Newsday:

CC SabathiaAs the Angels distanced themselves from Sabathia, leaving the Yankees poised to land their top target, the Braves moved closer toward signing Burnett, another item on the Yankees’ radar.

Angels general manager Tony Reagins, meanwhile, told MLB.com late Tuesday that his top free-agent target remained Mark Teixeira, rather than Sabathia. Reagins said there was “nothing to” reports that the Angels, who clearly need offense more than they need pitching, were shifting their focus from Teixeira to Sabathia.

With none of the other West Coast teams expressing much interest, Sabathia is left with the Yankees’ offer of six years and about $140 million and the Brewers’ offer of five years and $100 million. As much as Sabathia prefers the NL, he probably doesn’t prefer it enough to leave $40 million on the table.

If they can sign Sabathia, the Yankees will be all but out of the running for Teixeira, and probably Manny Ramirez, as well. They’ll try to land Lowe while continuing their attempt to bring back Andy Pettitte at a pay cut.

I’m still of the mind that one of the California teams – Angels, Dodgers, Giants – will make a big move for Sabathia and he’ll wind up in his hometown state. He wants to play in his hometown state, he wants to hit and if one of those teams are willing to give him a fair deal, than he’ll likely jump. If he’s all about the money, than the Yankees are his only option because they’re going to come up with the green in the end.

Angels zeroing in on CC Sabathia?

Top pitching free agent CC Sabathia might be heading to a Los Angeles ball club – although not the LA club many thought he might land with.

The Angels, not the Dodgers, have apparently turned their attention from first basemen Mark Teixeira to Sabathia.

CC SabathiaThe Angels, unwilling to meet Mark Teixeira’s desire for a 10-year contract, are in discussions with CC Sabathia and could offer him a contract that approaches the $140-million bid extended to him by the New York Yankees.

Scott Boras, the agent for Teixeira, represented Carlos Beltran four years ago and set the same asking price: 10 years for $200 million. Beltran did not sign with the Mets until January, for seven years and $119 million. By then, other top free agents had signed elsewhere.

Boras declined to comment on how many years Teixeira has requested.

Milwaukee reportedly has offered Sabathia five years and $100 million to return, with the Dodgers and San Francisco Giants among other interested teams. Sabathia grew up in the San Francisco area and has expressed interest in playing for a California team. Greg Genske, Sabathia’s agent, did not return phone calls.

I see five true contenders in the Sabathia race: Brewers, Dodgers, Giants, Angels, Yankees.

The Yankees will throw the most money at him, but the Dodgers, Brewers and Giants allow him to hit regularly like he wants to. The Angels allow him to play in his home state, but why would he choose the Halos over the Dodgers or Giants and the opportunity to hit?

I say he winds up with the Dodgers. They’ll be able to balance out what seems to matter to him most – hitting, money and playing in Cali. The Giants will eventually bow out because of the Barry Zito gaff and the Brewers aren’t as appealing as the Dodgers.

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