CC Sabathia’s opt out clause was an inevitable topic this morning, especially considering there are a handful of national reporters in camp pretty easily linking Sabathia’s potential free agency to the Cliff Lee decision and the current Albert Pujols situation.
In the past, Sabathia has said he would not take the opt out clause. Today he was less certain.
“I said that, but I’m here to try to help the team win and I don’t want to talk about that all year,” he said. “This will probably be the last time I address it. I’m here.”
As for Brian Cashman, he said Sabathia opting out is “certainly a possibility,” but Cashman also said it’s a topic for another day. Sabathia seems happy in New York,, and he’s pitched well in New York, but it’s hard to know what might happen 10 months from now. Much more interesting was Cashman’s explanation of how and why the opt out clause came to be included in the contract in the first place.
“From the first moment free agency started, we put a significant offer on the table,” Cashman said. “It was taking a long time. He was certainly trying to see what all the options were out there. In theory he was looking to be somewhere close to the West Coast. At least, that’s what the belief was, somewhere West of the Mississippi. We were trying to convey all of the positives of East Coast baseball, especially what New York brings, and try to secure the player. I suggested, if this is not something you’re going to be happy with, you can opt out after three years.”
Why be the one to initiate the opt out, though?
“At that time, I know I felt that I was in a race,” Cashman said. “Mark Teixeira was hanging out there. Anaheim was pulling on Mark Teixeira, and I personally felt that Mark Teixeira was not going back to Anaheim, that he was going to wind up in Boston. And when Anaheim figured that out, they would take those dollars and start knocking on CC’s door. I needed to get CC done before that declared itself. I had to do everything because I felt like, if Anaheim showed up, I would be in trouble and I might not seize my player.
“I did everything in my power. I know it’s constantly written about, how the Yankees were bidding against themselves. I don’t believe, to this day, that I was. I had seen what the landscape was.”
Associated Press photo