Yankees: CC Sabathia Is a Confident Man Headed Into 2017


On Wednesday morning as the Yankees held their annual holiday food drive in the Bronx, CC Sabathia spoke glowingly about the direction of the organization.

On the heels of the Yankees signing free agents Aroldis Chapman and Matt Holliday during the Winter Meetings, 16-year vet CC Sabathia wasn’t afraid to declare that his team would make the playoffs in 2017.

“I think so,” Sabathia said. “Look at the way we played last year at the end of the year. Obviously [Gary Sanchez] coming up and doing what he did was huge for us. But I think we can. The guys in here — the young guys are talented enough that they can carry us to where we want to go.”

The Yankees are currently undertaking perhaps the most interesting rebuild in some time, having drastically rebuilt their farm system this past August through the trades of Chapman to the Cubs, Andrew Miller to the Indians, and Carlos Beltran to the Rangers. More recently, the organization added a glut of young pitchers in lesser hyped deals that included Ben Gamel to the Mariners, Ivan Nova to the Pirates, and Brian McCann to the Astros.

But the Yankees have been so consistently good since 1996 that a flat out tear down rebuild wouldn’t have been accommodated in New York – especially considering that the club was in playoff contention well into mid-September last season due largely in part to the play of the Baby Bombers.

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Sabathia, who said that he had spoken to Chapman at the David Ortiz Golf Classic earlier in December, admitted he had gotten a genuine feeling that the hard-throwing closer intended all along to rejoin the Yankees if the opportunity presented itself.

“I saw Chappy at Big Papi’s golf event about two weeks ago and I got a good sense that he was coming back then,” Sabathia said. “And just talking to Dellin — he and Dellin talk a lot — and I talk to Dellin all the time — and he had a good experience here and wanted to play here and I felt good about him coming back.”

Sabathia further praised the signing, saying that Chapman’s presence at the back end of the ‘pen, will undoubtedly ease some of the pressure on the starting staff.

“He’s obviously a great piece for us,” Sabathia said. “He went on to do his thing in the World Series with the Cubs but it’s great to have him back. I think it’s going to help our bullpen. Obviously, I think it’s going to help Dellin and Clip [Tyler Clippard] and those guys at the back end of the bullpen, so I’m looking forward to watching him.

“You feel good when you have a strong bullpen. Obviously, you have those three, probably the best three relievers in the game at one point in our bullpen. That makes it a lot of fun. But I think with the guys that we have now, you have that same kind of relief where you can go out and pitch a good game and feel like the game is shut down once you get to those guys.”

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With Sabathia’s contract set to expire at the end of the ’17 season, I’m sure he’s of the mindset that another healthy campaign reinforced by a stellar bullpen can only aid him in signing another 2-3 year deal. As for which team that might be with, is another story unto itself.