Sabathia Sold to Yankees, or Vice-Versa?
Ever go into an electronics store to buy a 72” plasma HDTV, negotiate with the salesman, and settle on a price that has little or no guarantee?
Salesman: Sure, Mr. Knuckles, the thing can break the first time you use it and your money will be thrown away, OR it can withstand the tests of time and win you a World Series! Oh yeah, the TV can also opt out of your possession after three years if it so chooses.
Well, a bit much on the World Series line—but what the heck. You know where this is headed.
The New York Yankees are taking another gamble this offseason by signing free agent hot-shot C.C. Sabathia to a 7 year, $160 million contract. Probably ash-tray change for the Steinbrenners, but c’mon. One year of that salary frees Uganda and pays for the Denver population’s tithe for the week. The big money that is the Yankees raises my one question not only to the club, but to the market that is professional sports: “Have you been shot from a cannon into a cement barrier?!” The reason these contracts are so lucrative is because the teams just push each other higher. It’s no longer demand. It’s no longer based purely on talent. It’s gauged by how much the guy before offered.
So reverting back to the plasma HDTV simile I used above, I need to make clear what “getting your money’s worth” means to the New York Yankees. They want a World Series. So, along with the entire GDP of three states offered to and turned down by Sabathia, Yankee General Manager Brian Cashman threw in an option for trade after three years. Oh! And don’t forget the $9 million signing bonus.
Please correct me if I’m wrong, but if I’m looking at buying a plasma HDTV and it starts pushing for an option after three years, I move on down the aisle to the next one.
So, by opening day, Sabathia will have received six payments of a little over $580,000. This is before he throws out the first pitch at the new Yankee Stadium as he is slated to. It will be before Yankee fans have a chance to either boo him or summon him for a curtain call. Heck, he can retire in March and not play a twitch in a Yankee uniform and still pay NASA’s tab.
The goal of winning a World Series is what the Yankees strive for every year, and rightly so. This is an organization that prides itself on being the face of baseball, not to mention the Mecca of someone’s career. My rant is the fact that they have had to sell themselves to players such as Sabathia. He doesn’t have a World Series ring; and furthermore, he’s choked in the big games time and time again.
At any rate, C.C. Sabathia is in the Bronx; and if he stays healthy, the Yankees have a shot at opening up the new stadium with a record season and a World Series. I’m happy Sabathia has a chance to thrive in pinstripes. I just hope he left his ego behind so he can take advice from guys that have been there. There’s just no saying what will happen. 7 years is what the Yankees are paying for, but will the high definition hurler burn out before the big game? Or is he the brand name everyone is making him out to be?
By Tim Gaffney
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