TAMPA, Fla. — CC Sabathia knows exactly how he’d feel if he was an unsigned big-ticket free agent such as Jake Arrieta, Eric Hosmer or J.D. Martinez.
“I’d be panicking,” Sabathia said Thursday morning before the Yankees worked out at Steinbrenner Field.
Sabathia, who signed a one-year, $10-million deal with the Yankees this offseason, has made his money as a free agent, of course. As a 28-year-old, he signed a seven-year, $161-million contract with the Yankees before the 2009 season.
“I think it’s a combination of all of it,” Sabathia said of what he sees as the reason for the overall freeze in signings over the winter. “When I was a free agent, you got paid off of what you did. Now guys are getting paid off what they can do throughout that contract. Just a different landscape in baseball with the way teams are changing, GMs are getting younger and smarter and want to get more value out of the player.”
Sabathia said he’s not sure what the long-term remedy is, though he mentioned, as others have, that one solution could be allowing players to become eligible for free agency earlier. Currently players are eligible after six years.
“I don’t know what you do,” Sabathia said. “Maybe you shorten the years [before] you get to free agency, make it four years instead of six, so guys have a chance to be in their 20s going into free agency instead of their 30s, and that makes a big difference.”