The Yankees signed CC Sabathia.
Look, I like the deal. At this point, they had to do it. I’m just not sure the Yankees have a coherent plan. Is Sabathia better than Johan Santana? Not nearly, in my opinion. And I get the sense that the Yankees keep oscillating between sticking with young players and bringing in high-priced free agents. Which is it? If you’re going to go after the high priced guys, and your going to give Sabathia that kind of money and a spot in your rotation, why not get Santana instead? All the Yankees kept saying last year was that it wasn’t worth the price in talent and money. But clearly the money’s not a real issue, as they gave the not as good player even more money. And with Santana taking a rotation spot for six years, you don’t need Hughes and Kennedy. I think this signing is what makes the Santana non-trade a mistake. Because Sabathia doesn’t cost “only money.” He’s a Type A free agent, and that means that the Yankees have to give the Brewers a first round draft pick. So they are giving up players also (or at least the potential for talent).
The other thing that bigs me is this reeks of desperation. Another free agent who didn’t want to come play in NY, but got blown away in terms of money. They said they were trying to get away from that style of management, but time and time again, the Yankees have thrown crazy money at a player that had shown that he wasn’t interested in playing in NY. Look, there are lots of players from small towns and rural areas that have thrived in NY, like Andy Pettitte. I think the difference is in coming up as a young major leaguer. Andy Pettitte “grew up” as a Yankee. He learned playing in NY. Sabathia hasn’t. He comes into this situation with the largest contract ever given a pitcher. If he isn’t accustomed to the pressure, it’s going to be huge. I think there’s a difference with bringing someone up, and bringing someone in. So I’m not sold on Sabathia being worth that money. Especially in the AL. (Not to mention the fact that he’s thrown like a bazillion pitches the last few years.)
That said, he’s an ace-type lefty, and those are rare. And he’s clearly the best option available as a free agent. I just don’t know why the Yankees felt they needed to desperately attack the free agent market? I thought their whole plan was to build internally. One bad season, and that’s all abandoned? I don’t get it.
So, what’s next? I really hope it’s not AJ Burnett (who is too injury prone to justify a long-term massive contract) or Derek Lowe (who’s like, 146 years old). I’ve expressed my preference for Ben Sheets in the past, and hey, if the Yankees are dead-set on signing two pitchers, why not? Just because they would have to give the Brewers tons of picks? (Clearly, that doesn’t matter anymore. And they should get some picks from Pettitte and Abreu, eventually, when they sign elsewhere.) I just think the Yankees can get Sheets for similar money (and less length) than Burnett or Lowe, and he’s better.
And I think the Yankees have to turn their attention to Mark Teixiera, now. Right now. Switch-hitting, good defensive, high-OBP, power hitting first basemen are hard to find. If you’re going to spend money, don’t cheap out on the one player that fits in your team and roster.