Monday, March 17, 2008

The vultures are gathering above CC

When CC Sabathia ended contract negotiations with the Tribe because he didn't want to have to talk business during the season we all knew he'd be forced into it anyway.

And so it began yesterday, as CC took the hill against the Yankees in Florida and then fielded (deflected) questions about his future as a Yankee from New York sports writers.

Sabathia pretty much said he wouldn't talk about the future and politely told the penciled ones to buzz off.

But here's how that came out in the local papers here in New York:

The Journal News, which is distributed in the northern New York suburbs of NYC and is my local paper, had my favorite headline:

Sabathia 'auditions' for Yankees

As if they've never seen the guy. Here's the gist of the Journal News article:

That road could lead to the Bronx. If Sabathia enters the free-agent market, he is sure to be a target of the Yankees for many reasons.

With the new Yankee Stadium being built with the same dimensions as the old one, having left-handers in the rotation will remain a priority. The Yankees also could need a starter as Mike Mussina and Andy Pettitte will contemplate retirement after this season.

Sabathia would give the Yankees a veteran at the top of the rotation, easing the pressure on young right-handers Joba Chamberlain, Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy.

Even the money could make sense. The Yankees can easily better the offer Cleveland has made as the expiring contracts of Mussina, Pettitte, Bobby Abreu, Kyle Farnsworth, Jason Giambi and Carl Pavano will clear $80.5 million off the books at the end of the season.

Several of those players could return. But the Yankees will have more money than usual to spend.

"He's been outstanding for the Indians for a long time," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "He's one of the best clearly."

That part does all make sense. It sucks. But it's true.

Then there was this headline from
The Record, formerly the Record of Hackensack and still published in Hackensack and sold in the northern New Jersey suburbs.
Sabathia a future Yankee?

Why of course. It's pretty much a done deal. We're Yankee fans. We get what we want. We want Sabathia.

Here's the lead graph from The Record's story:

Dust off all those glowing Hank Steinbrenner quotes about Johan Santana from this past winter, and substitute C.C. Sabathia's name.

And there it is — coming attractions for the 2008 off-season.

The New York Times headline writer correctly reflected what Sabathia said to reporters after yesterday's outing

Sabathia Isn’t Trying On Pinstripes

But the guy who wrote the article went off the deep end.

C. C. Sabathia started for the
Cleveland Indians at Legends Field on Sunday, and it is only logical to guess that his next start here could be for the Yankees.

Of course. It's plain as day. Sabathia is just toying with the emotions of Cleveland fans, And forget about any of the big-money teams on the West Coast. Why would he go there? He's already lived THERE. And the Red Sox, why in God's name would he want to play for the Red Sox when he could be a Yankee?

Only The Daily News, one of the ethically challenged NYC tabloids, had a headline AND story that matched what actually transpired.

C.C. Sabathia won't bite on Apple

Monday, March 17th 2008, 4:00 AM

TAMPA - Some Yankee fans view Indians' ace C.C. Sabathia, last year's AL Cy Young award winner, as the perfect target for the team when the lefty becomes a free agent next year.

Sabathia, though, says he's not thinking about the future, unless it applies to this season with the Indians. He wouldn't bite on questions about the possibility of one day becoming a Yankee, saying only, "I'm focused on playing this season in Cleveland."

Would he like to re-sign with the Indians? "In a perfect world, of course," he said yesterday. "I've been pitching here since I was 17. We'll just see what happens."

Asked about New York, he said, "New York is fine. We only go a couple times a year."

The New York Post, the city's other ethically challenged tabloid didn't mention Sabathia - clearly the biggest surprise of all.

The Newark Star Ledger, covering NJ's old-line cities and suburbs west and southwest of NYC, had just one line in the "notes' section under the game story.

Ditto Newsday, the Long Island tabloid.

CC, and we, had better get used to this. It's going to happen every time the Tribe plays a team with any money at all to spend.

Good thing he ended contract talks so he won't be distracted.

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