LAS VEGAS -- The Brewers hope for some sort of response from free-agent left-hander CC Sabathia on Day 1 of the Winter Meetings.General manager Doug Melvin is scheduled to meet with Sabathia representatives Greg Genske and Brian Peters at the Bellagio today, the Brewers' first opportunity to get a response to a contract proposal that is now more than a month old. The Brewers are believed to have offered a five-year deal for about $100 million, but there are reports that Sabathia may be seeking more. One of those reports came from SI.com which said that Sabathia "told friends he is expecting the Brewers to upgrade their five-year, $100 million offer in coming days."
Whether such an offer is even possible from the smaller-market Brewers is unclear. The team stretched the budget to about $90 million by the end of 2009 to acquire Sabathia and veteran infielder Ray Durham via trades, and the investment turned into the National League Wild Card and Milwaukee's first postseason bid since 1982.It was also unclear whether Sabathia himself would attend today's sit-down, though he was in Las Vegas over the weekend for the Oscar De La Hoya-Manny Pacquiao boxing match. Could a Sabathia mega-deal fit into the team's budget in 2009 and beyond? If the contract falls in the $18 million to $20 million range annually, as reported, it could represent 20 percent or more of the Brewers' entire payroll, which already will be stretched by expected increases for first-time arbitration eligibles like first baseman Prince Fielder and right fielder Corey Hart. Club officials are wary of committing too much to any one player.
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.