LAS VEGAS -- Yankees general manager Brian Cashman wasn't the only big-time executive from an American League East team to court superstar free-agent pitcher CC Sabathia out here. His Red Sox counterpart, Theo Epstein, was said to have taken Sabathia to lunch here Monday.
The Red Sox are believed to have talked about parameters with Sabathia and perhaps even presented the left-hander with an offer. However, it is believed that Boston is unlikely to top the Yankees' market-setting (or is it market-capping) $140 million, six-year bid and that Epstein probably focused on Sabathia's chances to win with the Red Sox. Nobody's won more than the Red Sox in recent years, but they are not regarded as the favorites to land Sabathia (Boston actually appears most focused on star free-agent first baseman Mark Teixeira).
Sabathia, however, remains the biggest target of the Yankees after two separate meetings over the past two days with Cashman.
Sabathia impressed Cashman in two separate meetings by asking numerous questions about what's it's like to play and live in New York, and Cashman brought Yankees legend Reggie Jackson, who lives in California like Sabathia but also thrived in New York, to help answer those questions. After Sabathia's performance, the Yankees set no deadline on a decision.
"We're not being played. We're not being manipulated. We're not being used,'' Cashman said.
While Sabathia is known to prefer California "all things being equal,'' it's still not clear what his options will be on the West Coast. The Angels are focused for now on Teixeira. The Dodgers have not made a significant move toward Sabathia and still have plenty of other holes to fill, even after it appeared they were closing in Monday on bringing back Casey Blake to play third baseman.
The Giants have been in contact with Sabathia's agent, Greg Genske, but it remains unclear how serious they are. Competing club officials doubt the Giants can afford Sabathia, though.'' They have to go into backruptcy,'' one competing official suggested.