Another good guy (you didn’t notice?)

The news was released with little fanfare on a Monday evening: the Yankees came to terms on a contract extension with ace CC Sabathia, averting a crisis and a major free agency story.
The basic news wasn’t all that noteworthy, as Sabathia is a) handsomely paid, b) happy as a Yankee, and c) receiving another twenty-five million dollars to weigh 290 pounds and throw around a baseball. Sabathia, after all, will be receiving $122 million over the next five years–not too shabby.
But subtly, the signing reveals that Sabatha is one of baseball’s good guys, the players that do what’s best for them personally and professionally, and not just financially.
He didn’t force the hand. Sabathia had an opt-out clause in his contract that would have allowed him to seek unmentioned riches on the free-agent market rather than honor the four years remaining in his existing deal. He used this as leverage to get the extension he sought. What he did not do, though, was actually opt out of his contract: he remained with the Yankees, didn’t play competing offers off one another, didn’t push his employer to the brink. He and his agent and the Yankees’ general manager instead said, “Okay, what’s the equitable way to address the situation?” Fine-tuning the existing deal turned out to be the best answer.
He didn’t seek excess. As a free agent, Sabathia could have hunted for longer deals or more money than he ultimately received. Of course, he’s extremely well paid, by the wealthiest team in baseball; but that doesn’t preclude one of the other wealthy or big-spending or splashy teams in the sport giving him even more money to land a prized asset and stick it to the Yanks. But Sabathia didn’t play that hand at all. The value of the additional year on his deal is in line with the ones already in place, and it pays him handsomely, without the free-agency dancing that could have landed him a few million dollars more.
He kept it quiet. The public heard next to nothing about Sabathia’s contract, not from him, at least: lots of media speculation, near-certainty that he’d opt out, then, at deadline, an announcement that a deal was done. Credit goes to the Yankees on this one as well (unlike their handling of the Jeter affair last year) for playing it cool. Ultimately, though, Sabathia looked at his situation, figured it couldn’t get much better, and made a deal that was rational for both sides, and to fans.
This also speaks kindly about agent Brian Peters, who certainly did right by his client, securing him another $25 million while maintaining a positive relationship with the ball club.
Sabathia’s extra year is still great money, and it’s not quite Jered Weaver spurning free agency (and his very powerful agent) to re-sign with the home team below market value. But in some ways it’s not far off. Kudos to Sabathia for admitting his comfort and sticking around.