Meaning the Brewers were offering less than the Yankees. When Sabathia accepted New York's offer, Milwaukee officials were preparing to turn their initial offer -- five years guaranteed plus two option years -- into a six-year guaranteed deal. But it still would have paid less than the record six-year, $137.5 million pact between the Mets and Johan Santana.Sabathia and his agents probably were looking to eclipse the Santana contract to set a new standard for pitchers. Indeed, by making it a $161 million package over seven years, Sabathia's average annual salary is $23 million, a nose above Santana's $22.916. It also slotted Sabathia into fourth place on the list of the richest contracts in Major League history, just ahead of Manny Ramirez's eight-year, $160 million deal that expired this year. Still, Sabathia was saying all the right things about Milwaukee on Thursday. The Brewers were one of three teams he considered, the others being the Yankees and Angels. He apparently didn't mention the Dodgers. "I definitely had a great time there, and that clubhouse was awesome," he said of his half-season with the Brewers. What a half-season it was. Acquired in a July 7 trade with the Indians, Sabathia was 11-2 with a 1.65 ERA, seven complete games and three shutouts in 17 regular-season starts. He went all nine innings to beat the Cubs on Sept. 28 to help clinch the National League Wild Card and Milwaukee's first postseason bid since 1982. That game marked Sabathia's third consecutive start on three days' rest. He made it four in a row for Game 2 of the NL Division Series, which he lost to the Phillies. His Iron Man act impressed the Yankees. "CC put everything aside," New York GM Brian Cashman said Thursday. "He put his own free agency aside, his health at risk, potentially, for the good of the team. That's the type of guy any team would want. "There's a lot of stories that this game has had in the last five years that we're not proud of. That's a story to be proud of. That's someone that put their own personal interest aside for the 24 guys and that fan base in Milwaukee, to get them to the postseason. We're buying an extreme talent, but we also believe we're buying an incredible personality."
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.