The Dodgers had every opportunity to sign CC Sabathia to a deal prior to the 2009 season. Just 2 years after his Cy Young season, CC hit free agency and had Los Angeles as his main destination in mind.
The former left-handed hurler talked about that free agency in his book, also featured today on The Athletic. In that conversation about his free agency after the 2008 season, CC talked about how badly he wanted to be with the Dodgers.
He was certain of it. The only thing standing in the way of him pitching in Los Angeles…was the Dodgers.
Oh, I was playing for the Dodgers. No question. That was where I was going next. Because I was from Cali. Because L.A. was just far away enough from home. I wanted to play for one of the historic teams and have a chance to win all the time.
Unfortunately, the Dodgers never came calling. CC detailed conversations that he had with other teams knowing that he really only wanted to be in Los Angeles. But his conversations with the team were limited to Frank McCourt, and he said that it seemed to be more of a courtesy call than anything.
Sabathia would eventually go on to sign a massive seven-year deal worth $161 million to play for the Yankees. He ended up playing in New York for 11 years before retiring from Major League Baseball following the 2019 season. He tallied 134 wins with the Yankees and compiled a total of 29.7 bWAR with them. That could have been the Dodgers.
Granted, the Dodgers under McCourt didn’t exactly have money to spend. After all, they were still paying off Jason Schmidt’s terrible $47 million deal when CC hit free agency following the 2008 season. But it’s hard to not think about what could have been.
The Dodgers 2009 starting rotation consisted of Randy Wolf, Chad Billingsley, Clayton Kershaw, and Hiroki Kuroda. They filled that 5th spot with a combination of veteran arms but no one else started more than 10 games. The Dodgers got knocked out in the NLCS by the Phillies and CC won a World Series with the Yankees.