Yankees Rumors: The Market for Trading CC Sabathia
Starting pitcher CC Sabathia is the latest veteran on the New York Yankees to see his name pop up in trade rumors following the trade of catcher Brian McCann to the Houston Astros.
In his latest column, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe looks at various players around the league who could be traded this winter despite unattractive contracts. Two members of the New York Yankees are mentioned. First is left fielder Brett Gardner, which is just crazy because he remains a bargain with just $26 million owed to him over the next two years. The other name is a new one to the rumor circuit this winter, starter CC Sabathia.
While his contract has been seen as one of the worst in baseball over the last few years, Sabathia rebounded well enough in his age 35 season that there was some interest in his services at the trade deadline, and with just one season remaining on his deal, the money owed to him is no longer the daunting impediment it was.
The 36-year-old lefty is still owed a hefty $25 million in 2017, so it’s hard to see him being moved without the Yankees eating at least $10 million of that. They were willing to eat $11 million over two years to facilitate the McCann trade, so at the very least we know the possibility is on the table.
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If New York did decide to shop Sabathia, he would actually be one of the better arms on the market. He’s never again going to be the ace he was, but he was a solid mid-rotation option in 2016, pitching to a 3.91 ERA and 4.28 FIP in 179.2 IP. He can still eat innings like nobody’s business, and seems to have gotten both the degenerative issue in his knee and his issues with alcohol abuse in check.
Cafardo names the Pittsburgh Pirates and Los Angeles Angels as possible landing spots for CC. Both teams had disappointing 2016 campaigns and are looking to reload for 2017, but don’t really have the financial might to be very active on the free agent market. It seems like the Yankees and Pirates connect for at least one trade a year, so this could be it. Former Yankees assistant GM Billy Eppler is now at the helm in Los Angeles, so it could be appealing for him to bring one of his old stars on board.
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The problem is, while it’s definitely possible to trade Sabathia this winter as Cafardo suggests, it’s unlikely they are going to get much more than salary relief from the deal. Like it or not, Sabathia was the team’s second best starter last season. At the moment, the Yankees are already handing over two rotation jobs next spring to completely unproven youngsters. Do they really want to further deplete their rotation just for the sake of saving some money?