Eleven years after signing the then-largest pitching contract in MLB history, CC Sabathia is about to become a sought-after free agent again.
The former New York Yankees pitching ace’s one-year TV/radio deal with ESPN is expiring. The 39-year old Sabathia could draw multiple contracts offers from sports media giants such as ESPN, TBS, and Fox Sports, according to industry sources, as well as regional sports networks like the Yankees’ YES Network.
The former Cy Young winner and 2009 World Series champion broke into the TV and radio business this year while still an active ballplayer for the Yankees.
Sabathia had previously announced that the 2019 MLB season would be his last. While still pitching for the Yankees, he moonlighted as a TV/radio analyst on ESPN television shows such as Mike Greenberg’s “Get Up!” morning show, Stephen A. Smith’s “First Take” and “Baseball Tonight.”
Sabathia, who pitched for the Yankees, Milwaukee Brewers, and Cleveland Indians during his career, currently has a podcast with sports announcer Ryan Ruocco called “R2C2” on LeBron James and Maverick Carter’s “Uninterrupted” network.
Sabathia agent’s Mark Lepselter of Maxx Sports & Entertainment Group confirmed his client is fielding offers.
“CC is looking at a variety of different opportunities. CC certainly appreciated the relationship that he had with ESPN this past season,” said Lepselter. “It allowed him to start the transition into the broadcasting world. We’re just looking at a variety of different things with ESPN – and other outlets – and seeing where it all goes.”
ESPN declined to comment. However, the network is interested in re-signing Sabathia if the two sides can work out the right terms, said sources.
The 39-year old Sabathia enjoyed his initial foray into sportscasting, according to Lepselter. ESPN gave Sabathia the freedom to opine on other sports besides baseball.
The veteran left-hander is interested in both game and studio analysis. He could end up working for a national network like ESPN, while also continuing his relationship with the Yankees, said sources.
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Sabathia’s sports media future is an “open canvas,” said Lepselter.
“With his personality and his credibility, and his ability to talk about a variety of sports, he’s very interested in furthering his career in broadcasting,” he said.
When Sabathia signed a $161 million, seven-year free-agent deal with the Yankees in 2008, it was the biggest-ever contract for an MLB pitcher. Along with the now-retired Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, and Hideki Matsui, Sabathia helped lead the Yankees to their 27th and last World Series victory in 2009.
With his career winding down, he signed an $8 million, one-year deal for his final season in 2019. During his 19-year career in the majors, Sabathia earned $264.8 million, according to salary tracker Spotrac.
During an interview this year with Andrew Marchand of the New York Post, Sabathia said he was interested in a front-office job with the Yankees. He said he’s also interested in calling Yankees games on YES on one condition.
“I’m not wearing a suit,” Sabathia told the Post. “Why do I need to wear a suit to talk about baseball? It is f–king stupid to wear a suit. Guys on the field aren’t wearing dress clothes. People in the stands aren’t wearing dress clothes. It makes no sense. If they let me go up there in a Jordan sweatsuit, I’ll do games all day.”