The Yankees, with all of the question marks they’ll be dealing with at season’s end, have one seal the deal, no-brainer decision before them. And that’s to resign the best starting pitcher they’ve had this season.
Arguably, Yankees starting pitcher CC Sabathia has been the best, most consistent, and winningest pitcher on the staff. Just turned 37, Sabathia has a 9-3, 3.44 record over sixteen starts. Among all active pitchers, only Bartolo Colon has won more games than Sabathia’s 232. Oh, and his contract expires at the end of this season.
Yesterday’s New York Post proclaimed in a headline, “CC Sabathia pitching way toward unthinkable Yankees re-up.” Unthinkable? Did I miss something here?
I thought it would be a slam dunk for a team that pays Jacoby Ellsbury $135,000 for each game the Yankees play, even if he doesn’t play, which more and more is becoming the case. I mean what’s ten million for the services of a future Hall of Famer you’ll pay only $40,000 for each of his 25 starts?
There’s a choice with Sabathia that maybe is missing in the case of Ellsbury. I get that. And the Yankees would be wise to double and triple-check on the health of Sabathia at season’s end. Other than that, though, there are more heady decisions facing the Yankees that require thought and perhaps a bit of hesitation. But not this one.
It’s all about the intangibles
Sabathia takes the word professional to another level. He remains one of three go-to guys along with Brett Gardner and Matt Holliday in the clubhouse. Much like Derek Jeter, he leads not with his mouth but by example. When he’s working, everyone is getting their work in. And Sabathia is always working.
More from Yanks Go Yard
- Yankees add to championship core with Wilmer Difo signing
- Aaron Judge’s ‘breadcrumbs’ showed he was never leaving Yankees, has more moves in mind
- Creating a Yankees-Bryan Reynolds trade package after latest Pirates update
- Yankees analyst Cameron Maybin projects surprise landing spot for Gary Sánchez
- Yankees swipe intriguing minor-league FA lefty flamethrower from Braves
Sabathia is also a recovering alcoholic. How about having that on your resume? But what do we see now of the man who reached rock bottom in a hotel room the night before he was to take the ball in a playoff game? We see what the kids in the dugout see. And also the kids in the stands.
We see a man who has transformed not only his life but the manner in which he conducts his business on the playing field as a pitcher. Luis Severino and Jordan Montgomery can sit there and watch as he unravels one hitter after another. Show ’em the fast ball, move it around, and then come in for the kill with a slider or changeup off the plate.
CC Sabathia is not aiming at Jamie Moyer, who pitched effectively at the age of 46. He’s also not Jesse Orosco or Tommy John, both of who pitched at the age of 46. He’s made his millions, and he lives happily with his family in nearby New Jersey. He’ll take retirement when it comes and never look back.
Sabathia now runs against the grain of major league pitchers today. And there are probably those who look at the scoreboard and see 89-91 consistently and say, this guy can’t pitch at this level. But instead of looking at the scoreboard, they should be paying attention to the weak ground ball to short off the bat of the right-hand hitter who just got blitzed by a slider that dove off the plate.
Brian Cashman told the Post all the usual things we expect him to say, which is I can’t talk about it right now. Sabathia said the same.
But on his desk somewhere, there’s probably a post-it note to remind him later that simply says, “Sabathia 2018”.