There was a lot of talk about the start of a new era bouncing around the country this morning. People were so sure that this day would never come that they are rubbing their eyes, staring at the television or newspaper and trying to convince themselves to believe what they just saw. It's all true, though. Carl Pavano is no longer a member of the New York Yankees.
The team declined to pick up the $13 million option for a fifth year of Pavano. If the Yankees aren't able to sign any of their first few free agent pitching choices and also miss out on the other available able bodied hurlers, Pavano could come back for a fraction of that price. They also took a pass on the $22 million option on Jason Giambi for 2009, who probably won't re-sign with the team.
Pavano and Giambi, of course, play the same positions as CC Sabathia and Mark Teixeira, the two biggest names on the free agent market. The Yankees began the seduction process with Sabathia when they had a brief meeting with the lefty's agents at the GM meetings on Monday. There probably wasn't much substantial discussed, but the Yankee representatives surely flashed their fat billfold when the drinks came and glanced at their glitzy watches when the meeting came to a close. The subtle art of flirtation, baseball style.
The Yankees will make a massive offer for Sabathia and may also find some cash between the cushions for a run at A.J. Burnett or Derek Lowe, which may not leave room for Andy Pettitte next season. He's been making noises about wanting to come back. With so many other options in the ether and, perhaps, a return from Mike Mussina, though, it would be silly for the Yankees to offer him any deals this early in the process. He wasn't good enough last season and sentimentality can't be more important than that.
And so the offseason has begun in earnest.