Yankees wooing Sabathia
Free agent season opened yesterday with the New York Yankees planning to give CC Sabathia a record offer for a pitcher.
The Yankees formulated a proposal to the big lefthander that would exceed Johan Santana's $137.5 million, six-year contract with the New York Mets both in total and average, a baseball official familiar with the negotiations said. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to divulge details.
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman was to make the offer to Sabathia's agents, Greg Genske and Scott Parker, either yesterday or in the next few days, the official said.
The Yankees, whose streak of 13 consecutive playoff appearances ended this year, also plan to make offers to pitchers A.J. Burnett and Derek Lowe, the official said.
Cashman and Genske did not return telephone calls seeking comment.
Sabathia went a combined 17-10 for Cleveland and Milwaukee this year and is considered the best starting pitcher in this free agent class.
Other top free agent starters are likely to wait for Sabathia to set the price for pitchers.
The 171 players who filed for free agency after the World Series could start negotiating money with all teams starting at 12:01 a.m. EST yesterday.
Francisco Rodriguez tops the available relief pitchers, a group that also includes Brian Fuentes and Kerry Wood.
Other high-profile free agents include pitchers Ryan Dempster and Trevor Hoffman; first basemen Mark Teixeira and Jason Giambi; outfielders Manny Ramírez, Garret Anderson, Bobby Abreu, Milton Bradley, Pat Burrell, Adam Dunn, and Ken Griffey Jr.; catchers Jason Varitek and Ivan Rodriguez; and third baseman Casey Blake.
It's rare that a player spends his entire career with one team. Wood wanted to stay with the Cubs, who instead acquired Kevin Gregg from the Marlins as a less costly alternative.
"It will be tough sitting on the other side," Wood said.
Mets hire Alicea
Luis Alicea, whose contract wasn't renewed after he spent two seasons as the Red Sox' first base coach, hooked on with the New York Mets in a similar capacity. He replaces Ken Oberkfell . . . The Dodgers will charge $90 per exhibition game for 692 top seats at their new spring home in Glendale, Ariz. Last year, their highest-priced exhibition ticket was $20 at Vero Beach, Fla. . . . Chicago White Sox outfielder Carlos Quentin said his surgically repaired right wrist has responded well and he's been able to do some light hitting without any problems . . . Mike Arbuckle was hired by the Kansas City Royals as senior adviser for scouting and player development.