Yesterday, Joel Sherman of the New York Post had a chance to catch up with Carsten Charles Sabathia. Despite numerous opportunities to outright state his intentions to decline the opt out clause in his contract, as he'd previously stated, and remain with the Yankees through 2015, he refused to give a concrete answer either way.
“Anything is possible in a contract.” In another, the big lefty said, “Who knows what is possible, but I am not thinking about anything beyond Opening Day.”Yeah, that answer should end any and all speculation right there. Yup. Nothing to see here. Did I miss the article where C.C. announces his intention to attend the Albert Pujols School of Distractions?
Brien from IIATMS had this to say about the Sabathia situation:
I’m personally ambivalent on whether Sabathia decides to opt-out or not. The Yankees gave him that option, so he’s certainly got every right to do so if he wants. And heck, if it were me I’d opt out without giving it a second’s thought. I’m sure some people will write columns about how Sabathia doesn’t care about anything but the money, but those will be marginal voices and before long everyone will forget about the whole thing. But if Sabathia opts out after making everyone think he said he isn’t going to, those voices will be a lot louder and they’ll find a much larger audience that sympathizes.Brien's absolutely right. Sabathia's issue isn't that he hasn't made a decision. The problem is that, in December, Sabathia emphatically stated that he would not be opting out after the upcoming season. Now, all of the sudden, the decision is up in the air. I suppose we should have seen this coming all along. Then again, shouldn't Greg Genske, Sabathia's agent, have seen the opt out questions coming as well? Isn't that what he's paid to do? If I were Sabathia's agent, I would've sat him down, and come up with a prepared, standard response to any and all questions on the subject. Something like, "I'm aware of the clause. While I haven't made any decisions, I fully intend to sit down with my agent at the end of the season to discuss my options. Right now, I'm solely focused on leading my team to championship number 28," would have been more than sufficient. If he'd used that statement (or something similar) back in December, Sabathia's comments the other day wouldn't have been news.
Later, Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News reported that a source "with knowledge of the situation" informed him that "barring a major injury or unforeseen circumstance," Sabathia would exercise the opt out clause and become a free agent.
As I've mentioned in previous articles, opting out is probably the smart move for Sabathia. While leaving four years and $92M on the table is a risk, it's certainly warranted given the five year $125M contract Cliff Lee received from the Phillies in December. Sabathia is both younger and a slightly better pitcher than Lee, so it's not out of the realm of possibility he exceeds Lee's contract both in terms of length and average annual value. In all likelihood, this is his last chance to really cash in on his talent. He might as well make the most of it while he can. If I were him, I wouldn't give it a second thought.