Brewers Planning a CC Sabathia Strategy (Which Could Be an Exit Strategy)

Brewers GM Bob Melvin thought he had a shot at re-signing CC Sabathia with a five year $100 million deal ... only to find that the Yankees have seen that offer and raised the Brewers another season and another $40 million. Melvin, selfishly, and with a twinge of sour grapes, doesn't think that the Yankees need to go quite that high.

"It sounds like they're overbidding," Melvin told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "If the speculation is true that we've offered CC $100 million, why would you offer $140 million? Why wouldn't you offer $110 million?"

I'll tell you why. Because the Yankees decided they wanted Sabathia long before the Brewers unexpectedly decided to make a strong offer. They're not bidding against them, they're bidding against the previous standard for lefty starters (Johan Santana's Mets contract.) I mean, can you picture the Yankees sitting around their Tampa offices muttering to themselves, "Let's wait and see what the Brewers do"? It doesn't work that way in the Bronx.
Besides, if the Yankees have cut their teeth by being generous with their offers if they want someone, and they all of a sudden come out and try to inch themselves over an offer from a smaller market club, what would that cause Sabathia to think about the Yankees? The Yankees' strength is money. And they understand that if they're merely "in the ballpark" with their offer, it might not be enough to tear a player away from current teammates ... or, say, a house in Southern California. Hence, extra money.

Melvin told the Journal Sentinel that he will check with Sabathia's camp by the middle of this week to see if the Brewers still have a chance to retain their ace, who was acquired at the trading deadline from the Cleveland Indians and helped Milwaukee win the NL wild card.

"I'll ask them where we're at [in the bidding], if we have a chance or should we move on," Melvin told the newspaper. "I need to know. We don't want this to drag on.

"They won't tell me what the other offers are. They'll just say, 'We've got an extra year [from another bidder] or more money.' They'll let you know if the other offers are substantially more or a little more.

This sounds like "We don't want to be the ones to pull out. Let the Sabathia camp make the decision so we don't look so bad in the eyes of our fans for not going the extra mile." The shame of it is: the Brewers shouldn't look bad. An offer of five years at $100 million out of a small market club is very strong. But unless the Brewers want to pinch the rest of the roster to make sure Sabathia comes back, it looks like it's not going to be strong enough.

Brewers Planning a CC Sabathia Strategy (Which Could Be an Exit Strategy) originally appeared on MLB FanHouse on Sun, 16 Nov 2008 16:00:00 EST . Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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