CC Sabathia and the New York Yankees agreed yesterday on the framework for a $161 million, 7-year contract, the richest for a pitcher in baseball history.
The Yankees and Sabathia's agents still need to work out all the details, a baseball official familiar with the talks told the Associated Press yesterday. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal has not been completed and the pitcher must pass a physical.
Sabathia has the right to opt out after three seasons and become a free agent again.
"I'm sure every team in baseball would love to have him. He's a guy who's an intimidating factor on the mound," Yankees captain Derek Jeter said at the winter meetings in Las Vegas.
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman left Las Vegas on Tuesday for a quick trip to the pitcher's home in the San Francisco area, sparking the final stages of negotiations.
Cashman made a 6-year offer to the former American League Cy Young Award winner on Nov. 14, the first possible day to negotiate with free agents, and met with Sabathia in Las Vegas on Sunday and Monday. He had told the pitcher's agents that it would be helpful, he was willing to travel to meet with the Sabathia and his family in California.
Sabathia will give the Yankees a new marquee star as they head into the new $1.3 billion Yankee Stadium, where seats sell for up to $2,500 each. His deal will top the previous mark for a pitcher, a $137.5 million, 6-year contract agreed to by Johan Santana and the New York Mets last winter. His $23 million average salary is just ahead of Santana's $22.9 million.
Among all players, it will trail only Alex Rodriguez' $275 million, 10-year contract with the Yankees, A-Rod's earlier $252 million, 10-year agreement with Texas and Derek Jeter's $189 million, 10-year contract with the Yankees.
New York hopes to re-sign Andy Pettitte, who also is a free agent, and has had talks this week with Ben Sheets and the agents for A.J. Burnett.
Milwaukee acquired Sabathia from Cleveland in July, and he went 11-2 for the Brewers. Sabathia was a workhorse, throwing seven complete games and three shutouts in 17 starts as the Brewers made the playoffs for the first time since 1982.
GM Doug Melvin, who had offered a 5-year deal worth about $100 million, said he was notified at 7:30 a.m. yesterday that the Brewers were no longer in the running.
In other personnel news:
* As expected, Francisco Rodriguez and the New York Mets completed their $37 million, 3-year contract. Rodriguez saved 62 games for the Los Angeles Angels this year, five more than the previous big-league mark set by Bobby Thigpen, of the Chicago White Sox, in 1990, and then filed for free agency.
* The Los Angeles Dodgers finalized a 1-year contract with free agent Mark Loretta. He batted .280 with four homers and 38 RBI in 101 games with Houston in 2008, his 14th major league season.
* Righthanded reliever Jesus Colome was released by the Washington Nationals after two seasons with the club. He went 2-2 with a 4.31 ERA in 61 appearances last season.
* Because of its financial crisis, General Motors will not renew a sponsorship with the Pittsburgh Pirates that expired at the end of last season and also is looking at its relationships with other major league teams.
Chevrolet supplies the car that is given to the World Series Most Valuable Player. *