The 800 pound gorilla has finally left the room. C.C. Sabathia has agreed to the Yankees‘ 6-year, $161MM offer. Now that he has signed, look for all the other big time free agents (A.J. Burnett, Derek Lowe, Manny Ramirez, Mark Teixeira) to sign soon.
The big domino has fallen to the Yankees. The team who spends like there is no tomorrow landed their ace. Sabathia will be good, despite New York’s sad excuse for a defense (led by Derek Jeter and his iron glove). The big fellow will rack up wins and strikeouts, but look for overuse to weigh heavily on his left arm. Sabathia has gone over 240 innings pitched in each of the last two years and has thrown more than 180 in each of his eight MLB seasons. The big guy is a work horse, but that much work on anyone isn’t a recipe for a healthy arm. If he can stay healthy (and that’s a big “if”), he should post numbers that resemble 20 wins, 200 K’s, 3.20 ERA, 1.20 WHIP.
The Mets also added a big time pitcher by signing closer Francisco Rodriguez. K-Rod, will take over the Mets 9th inning duties as Billy Wagner is out for the season following Tommy John surgery. Rodriguez broke the MLB single season saves record last season with 62, but don’t expect those numbers this season. Though the saves will be down substantially, you can still be happy with 40-45 on a Mets team that still needs to add a legitimate starter (Jon Garland?).
Both of these pitchers have California roots and are not used to the NYC spotlight. I’m not as concerned about Sabathia’s mental stability as I am with Rodriguez. Each will have their struggles with the fans and the press, but I’m predicting at least one meltdown in 2009 for the Mets new closer that could render him useless for a few weeks.