First, everything I've read puts Sabathia in the 5-year, $140-$145 million range, comparable to what Johan Santana is getting from the Mets. That works out to an average of $28-$29 million per season, which would represent almost a third of the Brewers' current $90 million payroll. That would be hard pill to swallow.
Trying to think outside the box, I've come up with a few ideas for Mr. Melvin to consider to at least get CC thinking about Milwaukee's offer:
1. Offer a 6-year, $150 million deal--while the average is only $25 million per season, perhaps the total dollar amount might be a bit more appealing to CC. The 6th year could even be a player option.
2. Add an opt-out clause after the 2nd or 3rd year--this would give CC a chance to explore the free agent market again if he finds that playing for the new manager and/or in Milwaukee is not all he thought it would be.
3. Build in incentives--on top of the 6-year, $150 million deal, include bonuses of $500,000-$1 million for making the All-Star squad, achieving 175 innings, 150 strikeouts, etc.... The amounts would have to be somewhat attainable to be attractive, but attainable only if Sabathia is healthy for most of the year.
Some creative thinking with the offer will at least show Sabathia that the Brewers are trying new ways to re-sign him...and maybe even wind up costing another club a few more dollars that they can't spend elsewhere.