C.C. next in extension line

The Indians have already signed Victor Martinez and Travis Hafner to long-term extensions this season, and now it looks C.C. Sabathia is on the verge of inking his own deal. The Plain Dealer reports that Sabathia and the Indians are closing in on a contract extension that’ll keep the lefty in Cleveland at least through 2007 and pay him between $8 to $10 million during the first year of the deal.

Hmm…. I’m all for locking Sabathia up long-term but that dollar figure seems pretty high for a guy with a somewhat sketchy injury history, has battled weight problems throughout his brief career and has yet to develop into the legitimate #1 starter that his skill set suggests he should be. He won 17 games as a rookie (with a 4.39 ERA), but since then Sabathia has never topped 13 wins, bottoming out at 11-10 last year. His career 4.07 ERA is solid, at least in this day and age, but for a kid with so much promise he just hasn’t been able to take a pronounced step forward in his development. Granted, he’s still only 24 years old, he’s got one hell of an arm and he’s a lefty, all of which make him more valuable than his career numbers would indicate. It just seems like an awful lot of cash to throw at a guy who’s basically underachieved the past three years. Then again, we haven’t seen the contract’s official numbers — it may very well be heavily front-loaded, which would certainly make me feel better about the signing.

MLB.com is reporting that the deal has been agreed to and that the extension will run through 2008, worth $17.75 million. Sabathia reportedly will earn $8.75 million in 2007 and $9 million in 2008 while his 2006 option for $7 million also is now guaranteed. Since he’s still making less than $10 million per year throughout the contract, these are definitely reasonable numbers and, if this really is the year C.C. becomes a true staff ace, he’ll be a bargain.

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