CC Sabathia enters his final year of his contract with the New York Yankees this spring. There are more questions surrounding his performance in 2017 than any other Yankee. As YES reported at the beginning of spring training, “After a tumultuous offseason and inconsistent spring campaign in 2016, veteran lefty CC Sabathia became one of the most reliable and effective starters for the Yankees all season long. He made 30 starts and posted a 3.91 ERA, and would have collected far more than the nine decisions he earned had his run support been more substantial.” Could CC replicate or even outdo this performance in 2017?
Many naysayers out there have their minds on the next guy in and are just waiting around for Sabathia to make his last pitch in what many are saying is his final season of baseball. There is good reason as to why baseball experts and fans alike think CC may have to pack it in after 2017. His knee, his “fastball” and his health may all get the better of the veteran lefty. But you wouldn’t know any of this if you saw the glean in his eye and the passion in his voice following workouts this week.
“I realize this is a business, man — whatever happens happens,” is what Sabathia was saying Wednesday morning. There’s no defiance in his voice, no hint of a Take-That or I’ll-Show-You vibe. The left-hander just disagrees with the unspoken belief that it’ll soon be time to move on,” reported The Record this week. No doubt he had some rough spots and dark days in 2015, but his teammates think very highly of the veteran who appears to be giving it his all this spring.
“It shows you what kind of athlete CC is, how smart he is,” said Dellin Betances. “Me? I don’t know if I could pitch at 88-90 mph like he does. It’s pretty amazing if you think about it.” But at the end of the day it comes down to Sabathia’s ability to reinvent himself as he began to do in 2016, knowing that his velocity was not his hallmark anymore.
“For pitchers with elite fastballs, velocity becomes your identity, the radar gun is your friend. Sabathia used to be one of those monsters. Now he’s replaced brute force with a soft, subtle touch and isn’t ashamed of the transformation. The question is whether the Yankees value Sabathia’s maturity enough to consider keeping him around,” reported The Record.
I am rooting for Sabathia, as I always have. He’s battled. He’s braved tough days. He’s carried us. He’s dropped us. This year I need him to just stay consistent and mentor the young guys. Those few actions would be worth their weight in gold as the Yankees pursue #28.
BYB Managing Editor