Yankees had to pay Sabathia

In the end, CC Sabathia and the Yankees were each other's best fits. Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

It isn't often the New York Yankees find themselves with their backs against the wall. And yet, that is exactly what happened when facing the possibility of life without left-hander CC Sabathia.

The Yankees' ace could have opted out of his contract, which would have allowed him to become a free agent, but Sabathia agreed Monday to a one-year $25 million contract extension plus a $5 million buyout. Added onto the four years and $92 million he had remaining on his deal, Sabathia is effectively sewn up as a Yankee through 2016. The deal also features a $25 million option for 2017 that vests if he avoids serious shoulder problems in 2016.

Why this move?

Credit Sabathia's agent, Greg Genske, with leveraging the Yankees in 2008 by having the moxie to insist on an opt-out clause and the foresight to know what starting pitching in this year's free agent market was going to look like. With starting pitching the Yankees' main area of need going into this off-season Yankees general manager Brian Cashman simply didn't have a choice but to accommodate Sabathia's wishes.