Now that CC Sabathia has lost all that weight — as Hardball Talk's Craig Calcaterra might say, "He's in the best shape of his life" — we can all focus on the other rotund story involving the Yankees left-hander: how he's opting out of his contract at the end of this year. Because he totally is, you know.
In past years, Sabathia had implied that he didn't plan on opting out of his seven-year deal after four years, when he had the opportunity. That clause was initially put in there, if you remember, to assure Sabathia that he wouldn't be stuck in New York if he hated it here, which was considered a real possibility at the time. Sabathia likes it here just fine, though; that's not the problem. The problem is Cliff Lee.
When Lee signed his contract with the Phillies, it set the market for pitching contracts, and that market is a heckuva lot bigger than it was when Sabathia initially signed his deal. Considering how desperate the Yankees will be for Sabathia to return next season, CC would be a darned fool not to opt out. He knows he'll get paid, big-time, if he performs this year.
Yahoo's Jeff Passan has an excellent explanation of why Sabathia must opt out and why you shouldn't be mad at him for it:
There is no moral or ethical quandary here. Sabathia owes the Yankees nothing, certainly not loyalty. Were his arm to blow up, the Yankees would just as soon get rid of him. The fans have treated him well because he has treated them well with his production. If Sabathia pitched like Carl Pavano, fans would count down the days until his contract ended.
So don't get too excited about that weight loss. It'll end up costing the Yankees in the long term. And we get to go through this whole mess again this winter.