Mark Hale of the New York Post interviewed CC Sabathia after his win against the Mariners on Sunday, and the big man discussed his future. Interestingly, CC said that he would not even consider exercising the opt-out clause in his contract that permits him to become an unrestricted free agent after the 2011 season:
“I’m here,” Sabathia said. “Hundred percent.”
“I think you know I’ve built a house here, right?” he said. “My kids go to school here. We live here year round. So I’m not going anywhere.”
It’s easy to think about CC Sabathia as our ace who gives the team 35 solid starts every year. It’s also easy to think that Sabathia will opt out of his contract if he thinks he can get more money and more years. Yet, there is often more to it than that. There are plenty of players that live year to year in different cities. These types of guys aren’t good enough to secure long-term multiyear deals that would allow them the luxury of getting settled in a city. Other players like Sabathia have been good enough to ensure long-term financial stability, and with that comes the option to pick an area, get comfortable and raise a family. The Sabathias have children, and those children go to school and have friends and social lives and stuff going on outside of baseball. The family has only lived in New Jersey for about a year and a half, barely enough time to learn their way around the area, figure out what restaurants are best for takeout, and to get settled in their mansion in Alpine, New Jersey. The prospect of exercising the opt-out, becoming a free agent and packing up and moving across the country may not appeal to them as a family any longer.
This could change. CC could see Cliff Lee pull in $100M guaranteed from the Yankees this year and decide to leave. He could try to get a new deal from the Yankees with more guaranteed money and more years. Yet for now it seems that, despite his stated preference of the West Coast, CC is at home in New York. Commenting on his his undefeated streak in his last consecutive 20 home starts, CC said, “You can give my wife credit for that, I guess…Her cooking. And just being at home, being around my family and going out and being able to be relaxed. It’s just one of those things. I love being home. I love playing in The Bronx. I love being at Yankee Stadium. But just one of those things that worked out like that.”
The latter end of CC’s contract will probably not be as good as the front end in terms of performance. That’s just the nature of signing premier free agents to long-term deals. Yet, Sabathia has shown the ability to adapt, and bringing in Cliff Lee alongside him could result in one of the best one-two punches in the game for years to come. If CC is comfortable here, then I’m a happy fan.
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