After rapper, entrepreneur, and agent Jay Z stole Robinson Cano from the Yankees and sent him to Seattle, the ruler is back in the Big Apple. The ace of the pitching staff, C.C. Sabathia, has agreed to make the entertainment icon his agent. It seems like a fairly innocuous deal, but what are the underlying implications?
For starters, the world of sports is a business. There are thirty owners of thirty teams in Major League Baseball, all trying to win a World Series, while staying profitable. Most teams are able to balance finances with performance, especially teams like the San Francisco Giants. Or, other owners dump off all of their talent in order to save money, like Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria. And obviously, each player wants to earn as much money in their lifetime, not because they are necessarily greedy, but because they know talent can be taken away in an instant. Mark Prior and Brandon Webb, two pitchers destined for greatness, both had outstanding seasons throughout their careers before shoulder injuries ended both Major League careers before the age of thirty. Fortunately (for them at least), each player managed to accrue at least twelve million dollars in career earnings before retirement.
While C.C. Sabathia appears to be pitching somewhat adequately, he definitely is struggling mentally. I think he has lost his faith behind his pitches, and thinks his glory days are behind him. He’s scared to fail, and he feels his career as a Yankees ace is waning. Maybe he signed Jay Z because he is a great rapper/hip hop artist with the blueprint for success. Sabathia sat and watched the Robinson Cano adventure unfold, and saw Cano cash out on a major payday.
But I think the main reason Sabathia signed with Roc Nation is swagger. A good pitcher needs an edge; has there ever been a great pitcher who wasn’t intimidating? C.C. has lost his edge, and is looking for Jay Z to help him regain his skills back. Sure, money is great, and a larger eventual salary was probably be a factor in his decision to switch agents, but C.C. has $150 million dollars in career earnings. He could retire today, but he wouldn’t be happy. When C.C. Sabathia finally hangs up his cleats, he wants it to be on his terms.
It’s amazing how one season can affect a player. After a 2013 season where his velocity dropped and more balls soared out of the stadium than ever before, C.C. is lost. Jay Z will get his head cleared, and Sabathia will return to his usual status in 2014.