SportsProf

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Thursday, November 06, 2008

Why Signing Pitchers to Long-Term Deals is Risky

Barry Zito.

Kevin Brown.

Darren Dreifort.

Carlos Silva.

Those are just some examples of teams inking free-agent pitchers to long-term deals, only to have them blow up in their faces. John Donovan of Sports Illustrated.com wrote this excellent piece on why it might not be such a good idea for any team to offer CC Sabathia the huge bucks that he's asking. Why? Despite the excellent work of Sabathia during his career and especially this past season, such agreements are more likely to fail than not -- by a two-to-one margin.

The Brewers and Yankees are going to compete for Sabathia. The difference between the two franchises (and, for that matter, the Yankees and everyone else) is, as Mike Francesa has said on WFAN, that the Yankees can take these risks, take a loss on them every now and then, and not have their franchise suffer for years because of a bad investment. The other teams -- with the possible exception of the Boston Red Sox -- cannot suffer such bad investments and have their teams thrive year in and year out.

So, the question is: will Sabathia remain Sabathia the Great, will he turn into Kevin Brown and get hurt, or will he become the Zito of the Midwest or East. Let's re-visit this question in a few years.

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