Joel Sherman of The New York Post has a typically good, informative column speculating that the waiting game that Sabathia is currently playing just might be a product of the Angels’ own negotiations with Mark Teixeira. Sherman contends that it is possible that the Angels might become a player for Sabathia should they themselves convey an unwillingness to allow negotiations with Teixeira, represented by Scott Boras, to drag out as they did between Houston and another Boras client, CF Carlos Beltran, after Beltran’s monster 2004 run. If so, Sherman opines that the Angels might issue an offer with a deadline to Teixeira and, if not met, could make a play for Sabathia should he not yet reach agreement with the Yankees. The team might have contacted Scott Parker, Sabathia’s agent, counseling patience in accepting the Yankees’ offer based on such a stance on Teixeira.
Interestingly, Sherman wonders if less, and not more, than what the Yankees offered Sabathia (six years, $140 million) could possibly seal the deal for Sabathia, who has expressed the desire to stay out West and/or in the National League. Sherman explores Santana’s six-year, $137.5 million contract with the Mets and argues that, since it’s loaded with deferrals, the present-day annual cost for Santana is about $2 million per year less than the $22.92 million average over the length of the contract. Should the Angels offer Sabathia that amount sans deferrals, Sherman speculates, the Angels just might be able to successfully bid on him. However, this scenario would depend on their possibly letting Teixeira go, thus hurting an offense that clearly thrived with him–except in October–and still needs him as the Angels have started to shed players such as Garret Anderson, who have aged but can still produce at a moderate clip.
If nothing else, it makes for fascinating hot-stove speculation as the offer sits. A flip side of that scenario would be the availability of Teixeira and, though the Yankees have acquired Swisher and are probably loathe to add more payroll, passing up on Teixeira would stoke certain criticism from the Yankees’ fan base still craving a better offense than last year’s lackluster performance. Another question would be, to what degree would the Yankees then become more interested in this year’s large pool of somewhat talented but rather risky free agent pitchers, such as Burnett (whose agent wants five years), Sheets, Lowe, Perez, and more? Not landing Sabathia might propel the Yankees into a grab-someone mode that resulted in the disastrous Igawa signing after the Red Sox outbid the Yankees and everyone else for the rights to negotiate with Matsuzaka. I would hope that if nothing else, the Igawa failure would serve as a cautionary tale for Cashman, Hal and the rest of the Yankees brass not to sign a risk just for the sake of signing someone.
This bears watching to see if Sherman, who has a good nose for the game and is well connected, might be right.