Yankees left-hander CC Sabathia was not the only pitcher discussing his future as spring training opened. Two of the Phillies’ top starters, right-hander Roy Oswalt and lefty Cole Hamels, also addressed their potential next steps.
Oswalt, who turns 34 on Aug. 29, repeated what he told FOXSports.com’s Jon Paul Morosi a year ago: That he might retire at the end of the 2011 season. The Phillies hold a $16 million club option on Oswalt for ‘12. The pitcher also can opt out and take a reduced buyout.
“I’ll play this year and see how it goes,” Oswalt said at a news conference Monday. “I’ll see where my body’s at and pretty much go from there.”
Hamels, 27, is an entirely different position. He will earn $9.5 million this season in the final year of his current deal. After that, he will be eligible for arbitration in ’12, his final season before free agency.
The Phillies, regardless of what Oswalt decides, could attempt to negotiate an extension with Hamels after this season.
“I want to be here as long as I possibly can,” Hamels told FOXSports.com Sunday. “It’s why Cliff (Lee) came back. It’s the reason Roy (Halladay) wanted to be here. It’s a great place to play.
“I want to be here for the majority of my time of being a baseball player. I’ve never looked at anything else. I just know that if I stay healthy and I’m able to go out and help the team, that is all going to speak for itself.”
As for Sabathia, he created a stir at Yankees camp Monday by declining to rule out that he would exercise his opt-out clause and become a free agent at the end of this season.
“It’s still in my contract,” Sabathia told reporters. “Anything can happen.”
Sabathia, who turns 31 on July 21, previously had said he would not opt out, and he has four years and $92 million remaining on his deal. Still, he might do even better that as a free agent – or, at the very least, leverage the Yankees into a better deal.
The Yankees generally do not discuss contracts with their players, managers, coaches and executives until the end of a season. They do not figure to make an exception for Sabathia, who underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right knee for the second time in late October.
— Ken Rosenthal