Before tonight's episode of Conan O'Brien hits the airwaves, you can expect that CC Sabathia and his agent will have an idea of just how much money he's going to be making next season. Free agency opens when the clock strikes Friday morning and there's no chance that any team harboring a hope of Sabathia won't be weighing in with quickness.
The Yankees will be one of them. For Yankee executives, the last month has been filled with a lot of careful wording, suggestive remarks and knowing glances whenever Sabathia's name came up. He's the best pitcher on the market, a youngish work horse who dominates opposing lineups, and everyone knew that the Yankees would be at the front of the line for his services. There's no need for flirtation or courtship, the Yankees will get straight to the point now that it's kosher.
What will the point be? Joel Sherman of the New York Post posits $150 million over six years, numbers that would pay Sabathia more per-season than Johan Santana got from the Mets. The only other suitor who would potentially reach that mark is the Dodgers, where many believe Sabathia wants to play, but if they do go hard after Sabathia, it may wind up costing them Manny Ramirez. There's an argument to be made for choosing that course of action, but the Yankees may vacuum up all the suspense and go even higher for Sabathia.
That would close out other bidders from the get-go. Sabathia's choice would be about preference for a team vs. the most money he could get. Sherman quotes a friend of Sabathia's who says that wouldn't be much choice at all. "And if it is not close - no matter how much he likes the West Coast and likes hitting - he is not going to walk away from $25 million."
By this time next week, in other words, it wouldn't be surprising to see a press conference announcing Sabathia's signing to the New York media.