With the start of free agency quickly approaching, almost every major sports network has already determined that the Yankees will probably sign CC Sabathia simply because they will offer him more money than anyone else will. It's the perfect storm: the Yankees have about $80 million bucks coming off the books to throw at the best free agent pitcher since, gulp, Barry Zito. If CC does take the Yankees money, I don't think any of us could blame him. But just for fun, I tried to find as many reasons as I could for Sabathia to turn down the Yankees' potentially outrageous offer.
Reasons why CC Sabathia should NOT sign with the Yankees:
Will you really be comfortable in New York CC? By all accounts, you love the west coast and would be totally content to spend the next 5-7 years of your career out west. If that's where your heart is, then why not follow it? Hell, even Milwaukee seemed to be a great fit for you. Is an extra $20-$30 million really that important to you? Think about your happiness and desires before committing long term to the Pinstripes.
2. National League
Most baseball people will agree that even though the Phillies won the World Series this season, that the National League is inferior to the American League. All you need to do is look at your God-like statistics with the Brewers for half a season and understand that you could build something special in the National League. Your legacy as one of the all-time great pitchers can be fostered by staying in the National League for awhile.
Look at the past fortunes of Yankee free agent pitchers: Jose Contreras, Jaret Wright, Carl Pavano, Kei Igawa. What do they all have in common? They all stunk up the joint once they put on the pinstripes. Is there a correlation between free agent pitchers and Yankee cash? We may never know, but CC, do you really want to take that risk?
4. The Brewers
On top of all that CC, you have another ridiculous opportunity to explore if you choose to do so. Because of your phenomenal 2008 second half with the Brewers, the fans adore you and the front office is willing to jump through hoops to get you to stay with them. You would not need to proved yourself to a loyal legion of fans like Johan Santana did with the Mets and you would have a real chance to go out as a Brewers legend, especially if you bring Milwaukee a title. The iconic status that so few athletes achieve in a lifetime that is awaiting you in Milwaukee is nearly impossible to achieve elsewhere.
If you decide to sign with the Yankees CC, think about what success will be. Yeah sure, every organization loves to make it the playoffs, but these are the Yankees, home to the Stienbrenner Doctrine that if you don't win a World Series, then the season has been a failure. So unless you win a title, the season will be marked as a failure. Do you really want that hanging over your head CC? If you don't deliver a title to these folks, they will view your signing as a failure. Every athlete wants to win, but those expectations are unreal. Final thought, how can it be fun playing when the expectations are astronomical? Isn't it fun to prove people wrong, do the impossible, or come out of nowhere? With the Yankees and their $200 million dollar payroll, astronomic expectations are all your gonna get.
Do you really want to surround yourself with the circus atmosphere of Hank Steinbrenner? If you do, your crazy, because this guy is everything is father was back in 1980s. And might I remind you how many titles the Yankees won with George's tyrannical ownership of the Yanks in the 80s: Zero. Plus, how many times do you want to be called out in the papers for having a few bad starts? Mark Attanasio and Arte Moreno look pretty good right now, don't they?
There is no doubt that the Yankees have an unbelievable collection of talent and more resources to produce talent than any other team in the majors. But can they be the best team? The Phillies won the World Series this year because they exemplified they had character, heart, and played passionate baseball on the biggest stage. By no means were they the most talented, but management understands that you cannot build a team simply by having all stars at every position. Teams have to have chemistry and mix in well together; characteristics that I'm not sure belong to the current group of Yanks.
8. Perception (David Wells Effect)
CC, do you want to be known as the lovable, plus sized teddy bear with a rubber arm (basically a better version of David Wells)? Or do you want to be known as the sellout who ran towards the almighty dollar? I'd rather be the fat, lovable, lefty any day.
So there you have it CC, the money is yours if that's what your after. But before your blown away by lots of loot and a crazy number of years, think about the big picture. Because in the end, its not all about dollars and cents.