Baseball will always be America’s sport. It’s no wonder why baseball players today are some of the highest earning athletes there are. Of course, in order to get paid millions to play ball, you’ve got to be one of the best. Surely, the Yankees have one of the best pitchers of the league currently, and his name is C.C. Sabathia. The left-handed 38-year old pitcher is setting up to be one of the best the sport has ever seen, and he’s not even close to being done with his career yet. Sabathia is currently worth $80 million, and we’ll take a close look into how he achieved such a high net worth being a baseball player.
First, let’s start off with how Sabathia’s career happened. The California-born athlete wasn’t always just a baseball player. In high school, Sabathia played the trifecta: baseball, basketball, and football. Being 6’7 was a great advantage for him in sports. Even as a teenager, Sabathia already had a natural tendency towards baseball. He played the major league youth program. But he also received scholarships to play football in college. While he had the intention to attend college at the University of Hawaii to play both baseball and football, Sabathia actually never attended. According to this article from Abc10.com, Sabathia graduated high school back in 1998. Instead of going to college after graduation, he actually ended up going straight to the minor leagues.
During the 1998 MLB Draft, Sabathia was selected by the Cleveland Indians to play for the team’s minor league. He played for three years and was given a $1.3 million bonus to sign on to the team. That amount of money for a recent high school graduate was a great deal, and Sabathia proved that he was worth that much and more through his game. Soon after he was signed on to the Indians, the pitcher was selected to be part of the 2000 US Olympic roster. That was an incredible honor for the 20-year old baseball player, but his career was just getting ready to take off. That same year, he was awarded the Lou Boudreau Award for being the Indians’ 2000 Minor League Player of the Year.
The following year, Sabathia began playing for the Cleveland Indians Major League. During his rookie year, Sabathia was the youngest player in the league. He did so well that first year that he almost nabbed the Rookie of the Year title. Although he didn’t get that one, he did manage to secure a four-year, $9.5 million contract with the Indians starting at 2002. The contract included a club option after four years, which Sabathia eventually took. His salary continued to grow only after a few short years. For the club option, Sabathia signed a two-year, $17.75 million contract.
Sabathia left the Indians in 2008 after being traded to the Milwaukee Brewers. It was a challenging move for Sabathia, as this article outlined. However, there’s always a reason for the way things happen, and the Milwaukee stage gave Sabathia the opportunity to really prove his worth. He even had the opportunity to learn from some baseball coaches during his short stay in Milwaukee. He did so well while he was at the Brewers that people took notice. That very same year, Sabathia would get traded again. This time, he doubled the stage he was on—and doubled his salary as well.
Sabathia signed another contract before the year ended in 2008. This time, it was a seven-year, $161 million contract with the New York Yankees. During that time, the deal was the largest ever for an MLB pitcher. The season that followed suit proved to have been a great one for Sabathia. He ended up being starter pitcher for the Yankees during the opening game. During Sabathia’s first season with the Yankees, the team ended up finishing with the best record for the entire Major League, as this article from Bleacherreport.com reports.
The pitcher continued to play baseball for the Yankees, and he played with total conviction to be the best. Sabathia continued to open for the Yankees, and he dominated the field for consecutive years. By 2011, the Yankees were offering Sabathia an extension on his contract. For an extra year to his seven-year contract with the Yankees, Sabathia was set to secure one more year with the team for an extra $25 million. However, the 2012 season began in a negative light for Sabathia and for the rest of the Yankees. It was the beginning of Sabathia’s struggles, which lasted for a couple of years. It’s a good thing that Sabathia was under contract because his salary was definitely secured.
Sabathia’s slow seasons began to pick up again in 2016. By the time 2017 came, Sabathia was back in his element again. During this time, the Yankees offered the pitcher yet another contract. While it was only for a year, the contract was worth $10 million—that’s certainly a great salary to have for one season of baseball. It’s highly likely that Sabathia might play out the rest of his baseball career in New York. That would be great for both the franchise and the player as well. The relationship has worked well over the years, and the future is still bright for Sabathia.
With many awards under his belt, Sabathia is starting to become a new figure in baseball. Many people have already begun speculation and talks of his MLB Hall of Fame candidacy. Sabathia takes it as a true honor even to just be mentioned in the leagues of all the greats he idolized when he was younger. This article from NJ.com also adds how Sabathia approaches the entire thing with so much humility. Coming from a person that’s worth $80 million and might as well be a Hall of Famer already, it says a lot about Sabathia and who he is. One thing we know for sure is that while this player is playing, baseball is a much better sport altogether.