16 Feb 2011
Thankfully, we only have ten more days until the Yankees play some games. Now we can only wish that stories about opting out and Joba’s weight will go away. For now, please indulge me a minute or two on each of them and then lets talk about Pujols.
In regards to Sabathia opting out, my question is why wouldn’t he? CC has been wonderful since he came to New York, pitching as well as anyone could have expected him to. He also just saw the Yankees offer a guy two years older than him a seven-year/$150 million deal. While the four remaining years on his deal are nothing to sneeze at, I am sure Sabathia realizes he can get more. Even if the Yankees weren’t interested in bidding, some team would probably give him at least another year and $20 million more than he is currently set to earn. (4 years/$24 million per). And remember, the Yankees were the team that gave A-Rod a ten-year deal at the age of 32. His agents have to be telling him the Yankees will not only bid, but they will bid aggressively for him if he opts out.
When he does, you have to hope as a Yankees’ fan that they don’t need him desperately enough to offer a “Cliff Lee” size deal. Unfortunately, I don’t think that will be the case, but the Yankees would be smart to push their young pitchers this season to get an idea if they can avoid a $150 million commitment next offseason.
As for Joba, I have two things to say. First, most sportswriters are not exactly physical fitness professionals in their own right. Second, think about CC Sabathia for a minute and realize his listed weight was 290 pounds last year- 60 more than Joba! Now Sabathia is five inches taller, but before we condemn Joba to certain failure could we at least see him pitch against some real hitters? I’m not advocating obesity for anyone, but Babe Ruth certainly proved that a slim waist is not a requirement for a successful baseball career. To use a very New York example, let’s not make him Eddy Curry- yet.
Finally, I wanted to touch on the Pujols situation. I don’t understand why Albert, by all accounts a great guy, dictated things this way, but so be it. I think the Cardinals are backed into a corner now and there are a lot of ugly ways this can end. One way it shouldn’t end from a New York standpoint is in a trade of Teixeira for Pujols. Yes, Pujols is a better player, but Teixeria has “only” six more years on his deal. Albert is going to require at least eight and probably ten. As great as he is, I wouldn’t want to make that commitment and I can’t blame St. Louis for saying no either. Now, if the Cards called up and said what about an A-Rod for Pujols swap….well that’s a different topic entirely.
Did I mention how badly I wanted to see some boxscores?