CC Sabathia and the Yankees haven’t discussed the lefty staying in The Bronx, but the free agent said his top priority heading into free agency isn’t necessarily going to the highest bidder.
“It’s the opportunity to win,” Sabathia said. “I want to have the opportunity to win. Obviously, getting as far as we did this year and getting so close, I want to get that feeling again. For me, it’s gonna be spots where I can win.”
Sabathia pitched well for most of the season and could make sense for the Yankees, who are trying to get their payroll under the $197 million luxury tax threshold next season.
Sabathia wouldn’t go as far as to say he’d take a discount from the Yankees.
“That’s for my agent and [GM Brian Cashman] to talk about,” Sabathia said.
Sabathia was at an event hosted by Jorge Posada to raise money for the Foundation for Puerto Rico at the Hunt & Fish Club in Midtown in an effort to help the island recover from the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria in September.
The 37-year-old made clear again his desire to remain with the Yankees.
“I hope so,” Sabathia said. “But I’m not dumb either. I know what this game is about and how things work. If I’m back, I’m back. If not, I’ll play somewhere else.”
And he insisted the Yankees’ managerial search won’t be a factor in his decision.
“I trust those guys that they’ll hire somebody that we can play for,” Sabathia said of the team’s front office.
Sabathia played for Eric Wedge in with the Indians and Wedge interviewed for the Yankee’s job Friday.
“Did I like playing for him?” Sabathia said. “I didn’t have a problem with him.”
He said he hasn’t considered what other teams he might play for if he’s unable to strike a deal to stay in The Bronx.
“It’s early,” Sabathia said. “The offseason just started so I’m just enjoying my family right now.”
And he doesn’t have much of a time frame to land a new deal.
“Before spring training,” Sabathia said. “I’m not stressed about it. I’ll just see how it plays out.”
The Yankees figure to have a rotation of Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka, Sonny Gray and Jordan Montgomery, which would leave one spot open — possibly for Sabathia, who hasn’t ruled out playing beyond next season.
“It really depends on my knee,” said Sabathia, adding that he won’t be undergoing any procedures on his knee this offseason. “I want to pitch as long as a I…