Wednesday, December 10, 2008

C.C.-See Ya Later: Sabathia Signs With the Yankees

"Twisted and perverse are the ways of the human mind." - Orson Scott Card, Speaker for the Dead

In the last week, I've literally done a 360 on the subject of the San Francisco Giants' pursuit of C.C. Sabathia. That's not a typo; I don't mean a 180. I started off thinking such a signing would be a huge step backwards for SF, and then got talked into thinking it might actually be worth the risk.

Now that C.C. has reportedly inked a seven-year contract worth $161 million with the New York Yankees in an economic recession, I've returned to my original stance.

The Giants dodged a significant bullet with Sabathia in the slimming pinstripes.

Hey, I've always said that SF Giants baseball is the one sports subject where accusations of bias, delusion, etc. can be lobbed at me with justification.

I've gotta say that the deal stinks.

Sabathia might be worth it and he might have been reasonable in going after top dollar. It might have been kosher to rope in the Los Angeles Dodgers (a team for which I have zero sympathy) at the last minute. It might have been cool to explicitly tell the general manager that he wanted to play for the Bums.

It might have been standard operating procedure to imply he wanted to play in the National League because he loves to hit, that money wouldn't be the deciding principle, that he might stay with the Milwaukee Brewers because he liked the guys so much, that he really wanted to play near his hometown so a discount might be in order, and that these were some of the hundreds of reasons a six-year deal worth $140 million sat rotting on the table.

It might have been appropriate for C.C. to linger at every table in the free agent buffet line, to flirt with every suitor enough to elicit a marriage proposal.

That's the way the game is played these days.

But, for a guy who seemed pretty sincere about not being greedy, it all smacks of a calculated decision to drive up the price on a team he planned to sign with all along. To drive the price up from six years, $140 million.


Even more so, it stinks because that's the bar now. Congratulations Mr. Sabathia and Mr. Brian Cashman. I put the obscenely outrageous deals sure to be demanded by that parasite, Scott Boras, on you two fabulous individuals.

Manny Ramirez and Mark Teixeira, start your engines. Not to mention Derek Lowe and any other lure that sleaze has in his tackle box.

But back to the Giants.

No more Sabathia means San Fran will likely keep its full compliment of young flamethrowers. That makes me very happy. I won't argue that either Matt Cain or Jonathan Sanchez is Sabathia's equal (yet). But those guys are homegrown and I've grown attached to them.

I'm looking forward to the studs I think both will become. And it's always more satisfying to watch a guy develop internally rather than to buy him once he's established.

Cain might already be there with a functional offense behind him and Sanchez has shown flashes of brilliance. Additionally, I've already mentioned that being a deceptively hard-throwing southpaw makes Jonathan all the more promising.

Sure, C.C. would have been an immediate upgrade over either. But at that price? No freakin' thanks. I'll take the potential of the two youngsters and their price tags any day.

Furthermore, the Giants didn't need him. Sabathia might have made the Gents competitive in the NL West next year, but they would have been hopeless outside it without some offense. And, to be honest, SF might already be competitive if all the young hurlers continue to progress.

Regardless, San Francisco is at least a year away from contending for some serious hardware and signing Sabathia may have pushed that horizon back significantly. The Giants already have the pitching in place to make a run, they need offense.

And they need a lot of it.

Which is funny. Because $23 million a year can buy just that.

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