2008_11_sabathia.jpgFriday marks the start of the holiday shopping season for baseball GM’s and expect both Brian Cashman and Omar Minaya to be busy. Cashman will begin the free agent period by driving a Brinks truck to CC Sabathia’s house in hopes of getting him to sign on the dotted line. It’s a good gamble for the Yankees as the thing they desperately need more than anything else is a top starter and Sabthia certainly fills that description.

What the Yankees need to avoid doing is overpaying for any of the other starters out there. A.J. Burnett has been injury-prone throughout his career and will still probably get a huge deal. Derek Lowe has enjoyed pitching in the NL the past few years and may have a rough transition back to the AL and Ben Sheets makes Burnett look like a picture of health.

The Mets have an even trickier path to navigate. While they will surely say goodbye to Pedro Martinez, they should be careful how much aggressively they pursue the inconsistent Oliver Perez. Signing K-Rod would certainly go a long way to healing the bullpen, but considering he may cost $15 million a year that money would be better spent pursuing multiple lower-tier relievers.

There is also the Manny question. Omar has denied interest, but signing Ramirez would fill the hole in left and make the Mets’ lineup even more potent. Hopefully, Omar can undo the mistake his made of signing Luis Castillo last year and sign Orlando Hudson, but it is hard to see what team would be interested in taking Castillo off the Mets’ hands.

Photo of CC Sabathia by the AP