Somehow the Yankees front office all but convinced Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira to retire rather than to simply be released. It’s now time to use those same bargaining skills on CC Sabathia before he implodes any further.
If CC Sabathia’s performance on Wednesday afternoon against the Toronto Blue Jays showed the Yankees’ front office anything, it’s that the time has come for the club to move on from the stout left-hander.
Perhaps to take some pressure off a suddenly taxed bullpen, Joe Girardi allowed Sabathia to complete six full innings, even though he allowed nine hits, resulting in seven earned runs.
Yes, Sabathia only walked one man, while striking out a season-high 12 batters, but at the end of the day, who cares?! He still got absolutely bombed, and had just about anyone been available out of the ‘pen, there was no way Sabathia would have been allowed to stay in the contest after Melvin Upton’s three-run homer in the 4th inning that put the Jays up 7-2.
All of a sudden the Yankees are a professional softball team that is forced to score in every inning for fear that the pitching staff will eventually blow a lead.
The way Sabathia started off the first month of the 2016 season (1-2, 5.06 ERA) is exactly the way July (1-3, 5.93 ERA), and August (1-1, 5.71 ERA) have unfolded. It’s almost understandable for a 36-year-old with bad knees and declining velocity.
Sabathia can no longer come out of the gate like the ace he once was, and he certainly is unable to finish the long arduous season like the Yankees counted on when they signed him way back in 2009.
Strangely enough, it looked like a renaissance was upon us in both May (2-2, 1.04 ERA), and June (2-1, 3.68 ERA). But the Yankees and their fans got a bit hasty, calling then for Sabathia to be named an AL All-Star, in addition to possibly winning a Comeback Player of the Year award. I may or may not have been one of them.
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The last 15 games have been bad (4-7, 5.26 ERA, allowing 95 hits in 85 innings), but the last seven games in total have been absolutely atrocious (2-4, 6.00 ERA, allowing 47 hits in 42 innings).
There is no way the Yankees can move forward in 2017 with this kind of dead weight (no pun intended) still on the pitching staff. Sabathia is slated to earn $25 million in the final year of his deal. If he were to finish this season on the DL, the Yankees could opt out of the contract for a cool $5 million. But just this team’s luck, the one thing Sabathia actually has going for him in 2016 is that he’s relatively healthy.
There were rumblings of the Miami Marlins and those aforementioned Toronto Blue Jays possibly being interested in Sabathia before the Aug. 1 trade deadline, but his recent performances have probably put the kibosh on any team being interested in his services.
At this point, the Yankees should look for a trade similar to the one they completed with the Pittsburgh Pirates; acquire a couple Players to Be Named Later.
I’m sure the Yankees would have to eat a huge sum of salary to rid themselves of Sabathia, but it would honestly be better than having him lumber out to the mound every five days. And while I’m generally not a fan of releasing a player you still have to pay a boat load of cash to (see A-Rod), at this point, what other alternatives are there? Move him to the bullpen? Ah, no.
The possibilities for next year’s pitching staff aren’t all that enticing, but after Masahiro Tanaka and Michael Pineda, implementing the likes of Chad Green, Luis Cessa, Adam Warren, or Domingo Acevedo would at least be beneficial for the future of the organization.
I get it, Sabathia has been a loyal Yankee for almost seven seasons now. And fans genuinely like him, but this is a business. He simply can no longer supply the goods, so if there is an opportunity to convince him to pack it in–rather than issuing walking papers, the Yankees need to make it happen.
The future is bright for this team, especially offensively. But without equally talented arms that can ascend to the big league level at the same time as the bats do, we’ll witness many more games like we did on Wednesday.