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With Sabathia, CC stands for Cash Cow

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The market for free-agent left-hander CC Sabathia has been set by -- who else? -- the New York Yankees, who have reportedly made or are about to make the pitcher an offer that will exceed the six-year, $137.5-million deal Johan Santana signed with the New York Mets last winter.

The Yankees, whose string of 13 consecutive playoff appearances ended in October, also plan to make offers to free-agent right-handers A.J. Burnett and Derek Lowe, a source told the Associated Press. The team shed about $85 million in payroll after the 2008 season and, with revenues expected to increase with a move into a new stadium in 2009, the Yankees plan to spend lavishly this winter.

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Sabathia went a combined 17-10 for Cleveland and Milwaukee this past season after winning the 2007 American League Cy Young Award, and is considered the best starting pitcher in this year’s free-agent class.

If reports of the Yankees offer are true, it will make it difficult for the Angels and Dodgers, who are both very interested in signing Sabathia, to compete.

The Angels are focused on resigning Mark Teixeira, who is expected to command at least $20 million a year for six or seven years, and if they are successful in retaining the free-agent first baseman, it’s doubtful they would have the resources to sign Sabathia, as well.

The Dodgers are trying to retain slugger Manny Ramirez -- though they withdrew their two-year, $45-million offer today, they are expected to remain in the hunt for the left fielder -- but like the Angels, it’s doubtful they’ll have another $23 million a year in salary for Sabathia if they sign Ramirez.

-- Mike DiGiovanna


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