Yankees set to sign Sabathia
CC Sabathia is set to sign a seven-year, $160 million deal with the Yankees
Sabathia and Brian Cashman spoke three times in the past 24 hours
New York is also in serious negotiations with free-agent Derek Lowe
LAS VEGAS -- Free-agent pitcher CC Sabathia is about to sign with the Yankees, SI.com has confirmed. The deal being finalized now is expected to pay Sabathia about $160 million over seven years.
The two sides are on the verge of an agreement after three days of face-to-face talks between the Yankees and superstar Sabathia, who led the Milwaukee Brewers to the playoffs after a midseason trade by going 11-2 with a 1.65 ERA. He won the 2007 Cy Young Award with the Cleveland Indians.
Sabathia apparently became convinced after extensive meetings with Yankees general manager Brian Cashman that he and his family of five could be happy living in New York. Cashman flew to the Bay Area to meet with Sabathia on Tuesday and finalize the deal, which makes Sabathia the highest-paid pitcher in baseball history, eclipsing the contracts of the Mets' Johan Santana and the Giants' Barry Zito.
The Yankees more than a month ago made an initial market-setting $140 million, six-year offer to Sabathia, and no other team stepped forward to challenge that figure. The Brewers, Angels and Red Sox are all believed to have made offers. The Giants also were starting to consider whether to step into the fray. But no team was willing to come close to matching the Yankees' money.
Sabathia expressed some concerns in the first two talks with Cashman about coming to New York after starring for six seasons in Cleveland and Milwaukee and dreaming of going home to pitch in California. Sabathia's clear preference was to play in the National League, as well, and he is said to prefer the idea of spending spring training in Arizona. So the Yankees clearly had some hurdles to clear to land him. That it is why they were intent on standing out monetarily, and they did that.
The Yankees are intent on making the playoffs in 2009 after their streak of 13 consecutive postseason berths ended last season. The Yankees are moving into a new ballpark and have $88 million in contracts coming off the books. While they aren't insulated from the economic crash in the country, they are somewhat less affected than the other 29 teams.
The Yankees' new rotation is starting to take shape, as they are also in serious negotiations with free-agent Derek Lowe. An agreement with Lowe appears likely to be finalized in the coming days, as well. The sides were discussing a contract for four years and about $66 million late Tuesday.
The Yankees, though, are intent on adding three starters and are also talking with A.J. Burnett and Ben Sheets. They are hopeful of adding one of those two pitchers to round out their rotation.
Burnett is talking to the Braves, as well, and there is a feeling that Atlanta is the favorite to lock him up. If Burnett does go to Atlanta, Sheets looks like the next pitcher the Yankees will target. The New York Post first mentioned Sabathia was set to sign on its Web site on Wednesday morning.