The $140 million game of chicken began in earnest Sunday night when Brian Cashman met with CC Sabathia and his agent, Greg Genske, on the eve of the winter meetings at the Bellagio hotel.
According to industry sources, it was Genske and not Cashman who asked for the meeting, although the Yankee GM is just as anxious to find out Sabathia's intentions now that the big lefty has had a couple of weeks to mull the six-year, $140 million offer that would make him the highest-paid pitcher in history. The reason Genske wanted the meeting, said one source, is that the agent is trying to buy more time for another team more to Sabathia's liking to approach the Yankee bid.
With each passing day, the likelihood of that lessens considerably. "(Genske) has to be concerned about them pulling the offer and moving on to the other (free agent) pitchers," the source said. "If he blows this deal, he's dead as an agent. For one thing, who's going to approach that $140 million if the Yankees are out of it? Sabathia winds up with a deal $20 million less than Barry Zito? Like I said, (Genske's) dead."
Although they have boldly made Sabathia their No.1 priority, it is unclear how long the Yankees will keep their offer out there, especially with other pitchers they covet now fielding big offers. Hal Steinbrenner has said the offer won't be out there indefinitely and it would seem that Genske, with nothing else even close to the Yankee bid, is going to need to provide Cashman with a satisfactory reason for why it hasn't been accepted. Only the Milwaukee Brewers and San Francisco Giants are believed to have made offers to Sabathia, both of them $40 million lower than the Yankees'.
Madden makes an interesting point in this piece. If the only two teams who are interested in CC Sabathia can only put $100 million on the table, what happens if they Yankees rescind thier offer? Like he said, CC winds up with a contract that is $20 million less than Barry Zitos.
I don't know about CC, but if I were another client of Grenske, I would be on a hunt for new representation.