Tag:New York Yankees
Posted on: December 10, 2008 3:56 pm

Jeter on CC: "Intimidating factor on the mound"

LAS VEGAS -- As Derek Jeter pondered the prospect of new teammate CC Sabathia's imminent delivery Tuesday, he offered a valuable lesson in geography.

Sabathia's avowed preference to stay in the West?

"You can stay out there for six months in the offseason and still be a West Coast guy, right?" Jeter quipped as the Yankees primed for their latest elite-talent acquisition.

Out of respect for the process -- the Yankees aren't expected to formally announce Sabathia's signing until after the pitcher undergoes a physical exam and contract language is finalized -- Jeter declined to get too specific. He kept referring to "if" Sabathia does indeed land in the Bronx.

"All I can say is how great a pitcher he is," Jeter said. "Any team in baseball would love to have him. He's an intimidating factor on the mound."

Speaking after a press conference to promote the 2009 World Baseball Classic, Jeter also discussed a recent telephone conversation with Sabathia that most everybody but Jeter viewed as a recruiting call.

"I don't ever try to sell New York," Jeter said. "He wanted to talk. It wasn't a recruiting call. In free agency, you have to look at your options and make the best decision."

Jeter said that part of the reason many players with families express skepticism about living in New York is because they're concerned about the city, or worried about their families living in the city. Jeter noted that there are plenty of places to live in New Jersey, and he no doubt told Sabathia as much.

As captain of the Yankees, Jeter has an added responsibility, and, he said, "I take it seriously. I don't tell everyone (about the phone calls). I don't even know how this initially came up. My whole philosophy is, you don't sell New York."

When asked what makes Sabathia so difficult on hitters, Jeter replied: "Where do you start? He throws in the upper-90s, he's a big guy, a power pitcher, he's got a great slider. He knows what he can do. He's a great athlete. The list goes on and on."

Jeter also thinks Sabathia is strong enough mentally to handle New York.

"The only times players tend to struggle is when they put pressure on themselves," Jeter said. "It's still the same game in New York, Tampa, Boston or wherever. There's just more scrutiny.

"I don't think he'll have any problem."

Posted on: December 10, 2008 2:55 pm

Brewers, Melvin digest Sabathia's departure

LAS VEGAS -- The man who brought CC Sabathia to Milwaukee last summer learned definitively that the Brewers were losing him from an early morning telephone call from Greg Genske, the pitcher's agent.

But general manager Doug Melvin had already seen the breaking news on television around 3:30 a.m. local time Tuesday, and all Genske's call did was confirm his sinking feeling.

"Whenever you lose a player there's disappointment, but if you look at the track record of free agents, there are not many who stay with their teams," Melvin said. "Carlos Lee was going to become a free agent and we traded him, we lost Francisco Cordero ... we've always been met with these challenges."

The Brewers did what they could. Sabathia ultimately wound up with a seven-year deal worth just over $160 million, according to sources -- up from the Yankees' original offer of six years and $140 million. Sabathia also received an opt-out clause after three years, essentially giving him protection to escape if he does not like New York.

Melvin confirmed to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel's Tom Haudricourt that the Brewers had offered five years and "just over" $100 million. They were internally discussing whether to increase that offer, but the Yankees struck again -- essentially bidding against themselves -- before the Brewers had made a final decision. Melvin also said Genske had informed him that Sabathia would require an opt-out clause no matter where he went.

"Brian and the Yankees were going to be very aggressive in pursuing a top quality pitcher, and they stayed aggressive," Melvin said.

Sabathia's agreement with New York officially ends one of the most remarkable chapters in Brewers franchise history. And through the disappointment of losing him, Melvin said he will remember it as something special.

"We thought we had a chance (to keep him)," Melvin said. "There was a lot of talk that he was having some reluctance in going to New York. The Yankees made a good sell -- their ballpark, their history and their tradition. And the money ... I can't blame CC at all.

"We had a wonderful summer. He meant so much to the organization."

How much?

"3.2 million fans, an attendance record this past season, the playoffs ... we don't get there without him," Melvin said. "We were talking yesterday about how fun it was when we got him. He wanted to come in early. He pitched the start before the All-Star break and the start after the break."

And he pitched the Brewers all the way into October.

Now, the road to October looks longer for the Brewers than it has in at least the past three years. And perhaps longer.

Not only will they lose Sabathia, but starter Ben Sheets appears out the door as well. The Yankees have a strong offer to him as well, according to CBSSports.com sources, and the Brewers have decided not to make one. The combination of Sheets' checkered injury history and Yankee dollars apparently has scared them away.

So Milwaukee has two big holes in its rotation, and Melvin said the club's next task will be to get involved with some of the free-agent pitchers on the market. Currently, rotation would consist of Yovanni Gallardo, Dave Bush, Jeff Suppan, Manny Parra and Seth McClung or Carlos Villanueva.

And to those fans who undoubtedly will scream and holler about the unfair economic advantage the Yankees continue to maintain in today's game?

"Brian had to do what he had to do to make his club better," Melvin said. "Hey, I signed Alex Rodriguez in Texas. I know the abuse you took to be included in the biggest contract in the game.

"I've had one coming to me and now I'm losing one."

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com