Veteran pitcher CC Sabathia will reportedly stay with the New York Yankees, as the sides reached an agreement on a one-year, $10 million deal. Sabathia’s agent, Kyle Thousand, told the pitcher felt he had unfinished business in New York, which made him choose the Yankees’ offer over other competitive ones. Sabathia pitched for the Cleveland Indians from 2001 into the 2008 season, when they traded him to the Milwaukee Brewers. He then signed with the Yankees before the 2009 campaign and will enter his 10th year in pinstripes in 2018. Sabathia previously discussed the potential end to his tenure in New York: “If my run is up here, like Joe [Girardi]—I had a great time. Played here for nine years with some of the best players on the planet. Won a World Series. Greatest fans ever. I was a Yankee. I can say that”. He will have a chance to win another World Series nearly a decade after he helped lead the Bronx Bombers to the title as the 2009 American League Championship Series MVP. In all, he has made 22 career postseason starts. He tallied a 2.37 ERA in 19 playoff innings in 2017 as the Yanks advanced to the ALCS before losing to the eventual champion Houston Astros. Sabathia’s resume includes more than just postseason success. He is a six-time All-Star and won the 2007 American League Cy Young Award with a 3.21 ERA, 1.14 WHIP and 209 strikeouts in 241 innings. The effort marked one of 10 seasons in which he finished with a sub-4.00 ERA, and he’s been one of the most consistent pitchers of his generation. While the southpaw is 37 years old and no longer in his prime, he was still effective last season, posting a 3.69 ERA and 1.27 WHIP in 148.2 innings.
The Atlanta Braves announced that they traded outfielder Matt Kemp to the Los Angeles Dodgers for a package consisting of first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, left-handed pitcher Scott Kazmir, right-hander Brandon McCarthy, infielder Charlie Culberson and cash considerations. Kemp is returning to the Dodgers after spending nine seasons with the team from 2006 to 2014. After stops with the San Diego Padres and Braves, he’ll be looking to provide the missing piece to help Los Angeles return to the World Series after it lost the 2017 Fall Classic to the Houston Astros in seven games. The money involved in the deal essentially balances out on both sides, but it saves the Dodgers enough to get them under MLB’s $197 million luxury-tax threshold for 2018. The Braves will be designating Gonzalez for assignment, making him a free agent and eligible to sign with any team. Kemp’s career has fallen off since the Dodgers traded him to the Padres in December 2014. The 33-year-old has hit .269/.310/.470 with 77 homers in 425 games with the Padres and Braves over the past three seasons. If Kemp remains in Los Angeles after the trade, manager Dave Roberts will have one more player to work into the outfield mix next season. The Dodgers already have Enrique Hernandez, Joc Pederson, Chris Taylor, Alex Verdugo and Yasiel Puig to plug into right field, center field and left field.
A report out of Japan seemed to indicate that the Cubs were something of a surprising new contender in the Yu Darvish free agency pursuit. The report was from a credible source, but because of the vagaries involved in translation, I didn’t want us all getting too hyped up until we heard a little more. Darvish is projected to get a contract in the five to six year, $125 to $150 million range, which would be a surprising and substantial investment for a Cubs club that would be pushing the luxury tax cap at that point, with many arbitration raises looming in the next few years, AND a large and compelling free agent class coming next offseason. It’s possible that Darvish has found the market lacking, though, and the Cubs are simply doing what we’ve said all along that they would do – stay involved, and see what happens. There are some concerning trends in Darvish’s peripherals, but it’s not as if he’s not still a top 20/30 starter in the league.
The White Sox and Diamondbacks had shown the most interest in Machado. The White Sox aren’t expected to contend for even a couple of seasons yet, and thus would seem like potential candidates to deal Machado in order to further hasten their rebuild. The Sox are apparently willing to address Angelos’ concerns, as Nightengale writes that “if the Orioles even wanted it in writing that they’d keep him around until at least mid-summer,” Chicago would be fine with that assurance. This would be quite an unusual type of trade provisio, of course, and one that Angelos may still not be fine with if he wants to eliminate any chance of Machado wearing Yankee pinstripes in 2018. The Diamondbacks are also in the mix. Arizona “checked in” on the Machado talks, though it isn’t clear if the D’Backs were just performing due diligence or if they were one of the clubs who made Baltimore an offer. Machado would seem to be something of an unlikely fit for a D’Backs team that doesn’t have the payroll space to afford Machado’s $17.3 projected salary for 2018, though they could clear some of their own pricier arb-eligible players off the books by sending them back to the O’s. Patrick Corbin, for instance, would be an upgrade for the Orioles’ rotation, while Jake Lamb would replace Machado at third base and give some much-needed left-handed balance to Baltimore’s lineup.