Thursday, August 7, 2008

Free Agent at the End of the Season: CC Sabathia

Over the past 7 seasons, CC Sabathia has established himself as one of the premier left handed pitchers in major league baseball. He has won at least 10 games in every season he has pitched in the bigs, won a CY Young award in 2007, and is a three times all star. Sabathia is a formerly with the Cleveland Indians before being traded to the Milwaukee Brewers for stud prospect Matt Laporta and several other prospects. CC is one of my favorite players to watch because he looks looks like he having fun, is ultra competitive, and he is a big boy. Probably about 275 pounds of big boy. We're talking Garces-like body over here folks. So anyway, I would love to see CC get a fat contract (hopefully as far away from the National League as possible), which he should have no problem doing.

The Case for Sabathia:
-He is only 28, entering the prime of his career

-He is a stud pitcher, his ERA and WHIP are at optimal levels and are well below league average.

-He wins alot (19 last year and has never had a losing season)

-He gives you lots of quality innings. Basically we'll call him a much much much better version of Livan Hernandez. CC pitched 6 complete games last year (already has 6 this year) and has pitched at least 170 innings in each of his 7 seasons

-He is actually good hitter, especially for a pitcher. In about 60 ABs, he has a lifetime .260 BA with 3 HRs. Now, an NL team could look at this very small detail and at least find it interesting to note that even though he's big, CC is a great athlete, even at the dish.

-He is a lefty! Everybody knows that left handed pitching commands a premium (i.e Johan Santana and Barry Zito)

-His K rate continues to improve. This season, CC has struck out almost a batter an inning, while striking out over 200 last season.

-He is a very personable and likeable guy, which means he's very marketable.

-He's been successful in both the AL (with the Indians) and very successful so far in the National League) with the Brewers.

The Case against CC
-He's fat. Or just very big. He's a big guy and often times appears out of shape.

-Barry Zito. Teams don't want to be bogged down to pitchers if they decline, especially if they are in a smaller market.

-He's thrown alot of innings. As much as this can benefit CC, it also has a downside. CC has proven to be a durable pitcher, but usually pitchers who throw alot of innings decline quicker (i.e Livan Hernandez)

-Also working against CC abit is the face that fellow teammate and stud starting pitcher Ben Sheets is a free agent as well. I'm sure they will both get their loot, but life's always easier when theres less competition. Besides Sheets through, the starting pitchers on this year's market are pretty weak. Derek Lowe and John Garland are really the best of the bunch so far besides Sheets and CC, so it is really not much to write home about.

My Prediction
(7 years/$147 million)
If I was the agent for CC Sabathia, I would start out the negotiations with two things- Barry Zito's contract with Giants (7 year/$126 mil) and Johan Santana's (8/$137.5 mil) contract with the Mets. All three are lefty and Santana and Zito were around Sabathia's age when they got their huge deals. With his age and current performance level, I see no way that he gets less than Zito and he has a tremendous shot to out due Santana's deal.

Zito's deal probably has scared off some teams to making long term deals, but I think that a team will bite (cough...Yankees). CC's agent has to remind teams that CC is getting better and more durable and has shown no instances of decline like Zito had. The Yankees, Mets, and Dodgers (I have heard that he prefers the West coast) should all be in the mix for CC as he is likely to price himself out of many team's ranges. The Bombers have about $80 million in salaries coming off the books so they are due for a big name. Hello big apple.

Jorge says No! will continue our look into the free agent class with former Red Sox great Manny Ramirez.

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