CC Sabathia finished the 2018 regular season six outs shy of a performance bonus in his contract that would have paid him $500,000 for reaching 155 innings. He would have gotten it, had life and Tampa Bay not intervened. In his final start he was rolling through five, having thrown only 55 pitches, when the Yankees got caught up in a beanball war with the Rays. Sabathia retaliated and got ejected, knowing full well how close he was to that half-mil. His teammates loved him for it, and the front office must have appreciated it too, because word now comes out that they paid Sabathia the bonus anyway.
If you need a refresher on the whole imbroglio, including the timeless “That’s for you, bitch” taunt, here you go:
After Sabathia was ejected, the Yankees reportedly offered him the option of pitching two innings out of the bullpen in the season’s final weekend in order to trigger the bonus, but he declined. Now we know they paid it out anyway. No, CC, that’s for you.
Neither Sabathia nor the Yankees announced the $500k payout, which only got noticed in the team’s payroll filings, since it counts against the luxury tax.
“It was something that we did very private and weren’t looking to publicize, and I’ll just leave it at that,” Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said.
But if you want to be cynical, you could observe they knew it would have to become public like this, and perhaps serve as a message to any free agents currently considering the Yankees. It couldn’t hurt, anyway.
Sabathia, coming off his lowest ERA since 2012, has signed a 1-year, $8 million deal to return to the Yankees for 2019. As far as we know, it doesn’t have any performance bonuses.