People inside the Yankees organization are skeptical about whether the Angels are as serious as it seems about signing star free-agent pitcher CC Sabathia. Some Yankees officials seem to believe: 1) that the Angels leaked their alleged intention to make an offer to Sabathia approaching that of the Yankees' $140-million, six-year offer to drive down the demands of first baseman and stated top target Mark Teixeira, or 2) that if the Angels do go for Sabathia, it will be with an offer in the range of $100 million-$120 million, not $140 million.
I, however, tend to believe the Angels are serious about Sabathia.
A competing executive from another American League team told me he believes the Angels are "dead serious." He predicts the Angels will match Johan Santana's $137.5-million, six-year deal with the Mets, causing the Yankees to up their offer to $160 million over seven years. At that point, the Angels would have to decide whether to increase their own bid.
Sure, the economy's in the tank. But there's only one Sabathia out there.
Maybe I am getting ahead of myself here. Maybe the Yankees are right that they are the only $135-million-plus game in town.
After all, the only official word I got out of the Angels since the Los Angeles Times reported on Tuesday that the Angels were intending to make a bid in the neighborhood of the Yankees' offer is: "Nothing's changed. We're still interested in Teixeira." If that's true, it would seem to support the Yankees' current beliefs.
Also supporting the Yankees' skepticism regarding the Angels are three more factors: 1) the Angels would appear to need Teixeira a lot more than they need Sabathia, 2) the Angels will want to extend their own star pitcher, John Lackey, very soon, and having a $20-million-plus pitcher on their payroll doesn't help that cause, and 3) Angels owner Arte Moreno is known to love Teixeira and has yet to show an inclination to give a pitcher a contract of such length.
However, I also know some of the Angels baseball people absolutely love Sabathia, and they probably don't mind the idea of creating a super rotation with Sabathia joining Lackey, Ervin Santana and Joe Saunders to form the most formidable foursome in the game.
The Angels are a team that is prone to surprise, as did they did last winter with their quick signing of center fielder Torii Hunter for $90 million, a deal that was consummated between GM Tony Reagins and agent Larry Reynolds at a Del Taco out on Interstate 91. At the time, the Angels didn't appear to need a center fielder, as they had only signed Gary Matthews Jr. the winter before.
Come to think of it, that surprise deal for Hunter also occurred on Thanksgiving week. Could history be repeating itself here?