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Sunday November 16, 2008 8:11 pm

Free Agent Pitching

Francisco Rodriguez

The C.C. Sabathia Stakes are underway. Qualifications are as follows: 1) Teams are required to have deep pockets for competitive bidding. 2) Team owners and general managers must have an abundance of patience while C.C. shops around for a lucrative multi-year deal. 3) California and National League teams get bidding preference. Sabathia is a native Californian and has expressed a desire to pitch for a Golden State team. Same deal for NL squads—pitching for the Milwaukee Brewers made C.C. an NL convert. 4) Major market teams also get a leg up by virtue of the fact that they attract lots of fans and rake in major advertising revenues.

New York Yankees owner Hank Steinbrenner has taken up the gauntlet by offering the southpaw flamethrower a multi-year deal purportedly worth $140 million for seven years. When and if Sabathia signs on the dotted line it will make him the richest pitcher in either league. The New York Mets are also rumored to have an interest in Sabathia, though they have yet to make an offer. The one intangible is -  where will C.C. be happiest pitching next season? Scores of lights out starters have eschewed the Yankees titanic wealth for less money and more harmonious surroundings. Right now its anyone’s guess where Sabathia will take the mound next season, but the Bombers seem to have the inside track.

Steinbrenner has been quoted saying that he is prepared to make rock solid bids for Derek Lowe and A.J. Burnett. To paraphrase a well-worn adage, caveat emptor, Latin for “let the buyer beware.” Both Lowe and Burnett seem to be good fits for the Yankees impoverished pitching staff. The catch, is both hurlers are National League products. Even The Big Unit, Randy Johnson, rang up lemons the one season he pitched in the Bronx and subsequently re-signed with the Arizona Diamondbacks. There is a possibility that Lowe and Burnett could make smooth transitions, but those are fairly long odds.

From the files of “Why Won’t He Sign?” is none other than K-Rod, Francisco Rodriguez. Yup, this is the same K-Rod who logged a major league record 62 saves and regularly turns bats to saw dust. The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim have already tabled six offers to their lights out closer, but K-Rod ain’t biting. Is it possible that Francisco R. is tired of watching the Halos lose to the Boston Red Sox in the playoffs? Time will tell.



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