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Monday, November 17, 2008

Yankees offer CC Sabathia largest contract ever for pitcher

As expected Friday, the New York Yankees officially tendered an offer to free-agent pitcher CC Sabathia.

CC Sabathia


Starting Pitcher
Milwaukee Brewers


2008 Season Stats
35 17 10 59 251 2.70

The offer is expected to be six years in length and have a total value of slightly more than the record $137.5 million deal that pitcher Johan Santana signed with the Mets before last season.

Santana's deal had been the largest ever for a pitcher.

Yankees co-chairman Hank Steinbrenner confirmed Friday night at the team's spring training complex in Tampa, Fla., that an offer was made to Sabathia, and that proposals will be forthcoming for pitchers A.J. Burnett and Derek Lowe.

"Yes," Steinbrenner told The Associated Press when asked if an offer was made to Sabathia. "And we're prepared to make offers to Burnett and Lowe."

Steinbrenner declined to give details about the Sabathia offer.

Friday represented the first day that free agents can be signed. Burnett has a four-year, $54 million offer from Toronto, while Lowe is looking for a five-year contract.

The Milwaukee Brewers opened the bidding for Sabathia last week, when general manager Doug Melvin made a contract proposal to Sabathia. Melvin wasn't willing at the time to discuss terms of the offer or assess the team's chances of keeping its prize pitcher.

"It's in their hands," Melvin said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. "He hasn't really had a chance to talk with other teams."

Sabathia, who went 11-2 with a 1.65 ERA for Milwaukee after he was traded from the Cleveland Indians on July 7, filed for free agency on Nov. 1.

Buster Olney is a senior writer for ESPN The Magazine. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.