With the new Yankee Stadium being built with the same dimensions as the old one, having left-handers in the rotation will remain a priority. The Yankees also could need a starter as Mike Mussina and Andy Pettitte will contemplate retirement after this season.
Sabathia would give the Yankees a veteran at the top of the rotation, easing the pressure on young right-handers Joba Chamberlain, Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy.
Even the money could make sense. The Yankees can easily better the offer Cleveland has made as the expiring contracts of Mussina, Pettitte, Bobby Abreu, Kyle Farnsworth, Jason Giambi and Carl Pavano will clear $80.5 million off the books at the end of the season.
Several Yankee fans in the crowd shouted at Sabathia that they hoped to see him in pinstripes next season. He smiled when told that he was the object of their affection.
"I have nothing to say to that," he said. "I'm just focused on this year, then we'll see what happens."