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C.C. looking to opt out?

C.C. Sabathia reported to camp 25 pounds lighter this year. Could that mean the Yankees' ace lefty is looking ahead to a possible free-agent run after the season? It's very possible, as Jeff Passan says in a column today in Yahoo! Sports. Sabathia, who has four years left on his original deal with the Yanks, has the right to opt out after the season. He tried to downplay it when he arrived in Tampa, but it makes sense. Sabathia is 30 years old. He has 157 career wins, tied for eighth among active pitchers and easily the most of any player 30 and younger. The next-highest is Carlos Zambrano with 116 wins.

If Sabathia has another very good year, why wouldn't he want to test the waters again? It might be his last chance for a huge free-agent deal. If he plays out his existing contract, he'll be 34 when  he has a chance to be a free agent again. Considering the jump in salaries (just wait to see what Albert Pujols gets), he could probably do better if he shops himself to the highest bidder again. Nothing says it can't be the Yankees, either. They have a pretty flimsy rotation, despite their lofty payroll, It's hard to imagine them without him.

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