Yankees Still Have Leverage on CC Sabathia

There's a breathless report in the New York Post this morning that has the Milwaukee Brewers getting creative in their pursuit of CC Sabathia. While their five-year, $100 million offer isn't close to the $140 million the Yankees put on the table, the Post says, in addition to more money, they'd give Sabathia an opt-out after three years. That's a tempting second shot at free agency for Sabathia, who would be 31 at the time, even if he'd be leaving some money on the table in the short run.

That's a curveball that could make things more difficult for the Bronx gang. The Yankees wouldn't counter with an opt-out clause of their own, but they could boost the total pay package to $150 million if they so chose. Or more. There are a lot of twists and turns to come and, even after all the ink spilled thus far, we're just getting started.

On that note, Brian Cashman finally sat down with Sabathia and his agent, Greg Genske, at the Bellagio in Las Vegas Sunday night. That was expected for some time, but what's interesting is that it was Genske, not Cashman, who requested the meeting. Why would the pursued come to the pursuer?

Probably because Genske is desperate for a team to come forward with an offer that's even in the same neighborhood as the Yankees. Genske needs to please his client but also needs to keep an eye on his future as an agent. If the Yankees were to walk away from Sabathia and sign others, leaving the season's premier free agent with a contract that pays him less than lesser players, Genske's competition would drill that into the head of his clients and any other top performer looking for representation.

Sabathia's apparent distaste for the Yankees seems to leave this course of action as the best one for the Yankees to pursue. Genske also requested a meeting with the Red Sox, something he'd only do to try and extract a little bit more money from the Yankees unless the Red Sox have kept their Sabathia interest a bigger secret than whatever's at Area 51. When push comes to shove, few agents will happily allow their client to sign for below-market prices. Genske doesn't seem like one of them, which is good news for the Yankees.  

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