Monday, May 19, 2014
Posted by el duque at 7:15 AM
For two years now, Sabathia's radar readings have been in free fall, turning him into a 6'7" finesse pitcher - (the definition of Colter Bean, by the way.) A knee with barbed wire ligaments won't help. The Yankees' earliest buyout opportunity comes in 2017, when the Empire can pay him $5 million to retire. Between now and then, the Evils owe Sabathia $71 million, which is like paying the entire roster of the Tampa Rays.
This puts CC in a grand, if not unique position: He is a greater fiscal disaster than A-Rod. Yep. They said it couldn't be done. But that's what degenerative knees do. Through 2017, we will pay Alex Rodriguez $61 million (numbers from the Baseball Reference website.) That's a second Rays roster.
A-Rod's Mt. Everest of debt has been tempered by his one-year drug suspension, which saves us $19 million. (We still owe $2.8 million, I guess, in ancillary debts.) Thus, over the next few years, we'll shell out $137 million for two players, one who can't pitch and the other - well - let's just say that Barry Bonds doesn't have to worry about his HR record any more.
Of course, this is the Steinbrenner way. As Yankee fans, we signed on long ago to love a team that never in our lifetimes has represented anything but fiscal excess, if not insanity. The Yankees spend "whatever it takes" to win, and in our fantasy world, we fans can pretend to be Koch brothers, unconcerned about money or the future of polar caps. In life, we clip coupons. In baseball, we buy washed up future Hall of Famers. For years, I've extolled those Yankee fantasy virtues, and I cannot complain now if we're shoveling cash into an open furnace, which we are.
Which brings me to today's point: Mr. Cliff "Never the Yankees" Lee. Sometime in the next two months, the phloudering Phillies may be willing to part with the 35-year-old pitcher - whose wife famously dislikes the foul-tongues of New York fans. (Making her the first person in history to think Philadelphia fans are respectful.) Lee has pitched well lately - his ERA is 3.23. In a trade, Philadelphia would demand a ton of prospects - thinning, if not cleaning out our rather meager farm system. Plus, the Yankees would assume most, if not all, of his contract: $10 million for the remainder of this year, $25 million next year, and $27 million for the finale. (There is a $12.5 million buyout.) It could be another $62 million, for another Windows '95 star.
Listen: I don't know who will pitch for the Yankees in September. It might be Aaron Small. It might be Sidney Ponson. It might be Wally Whitehurst. I doubt it will be CC Sabathia. And I hope to God that it's not Cliff Lee. At some point, somewhere, sometime, the Yankees have to change their ways. A repeat of the 1980s is looming, folks. If we want to make it happen, the quickest route would be through Fort Lee.