Being the oldest player on the team, one must contemplate retirement day in and day out. That’s the case for Yankees veteran C.C. Sabathia. Once a force to be reckoned with, Sabathia has had to learn new tricks in his later years just to stay afloat in an ever-evolving league. Now in his 18th season at 37 years-old how much more does C.C. have left in the tank?
Before coming to the Yankees CC was drafted by the Cleveland Indians in the first round of the 1998 MLB Amateur Draft, and went straight from high school into professional baseball. After spending three years in the Indians system, Sabathia was able to break free of the limbo that is minor league baseball.
CC was a major contributor to the Yankees 2009 World Series victory and has always been a workhorse, capable of throwing deep into games and pitching on short rest.
This includes Sabathia’s eight seasons with 200+ IP, his over 3000 career IP, his 38 career complete games (12 of which are shutouts) and pitching throughout the Yankees’ 2009 playoff run in a three-man rotation; along with A.J. Burnett and Andy Pettitte.
But at age 37, Sabathia is a different player than his younger self. No longer the ace of the Yankees staff, C.C. began his aging process very poorly.
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After losing velocity due to his age, Sabathia looked to change his physique to better his game. But after going back and forth with his weight, Sabathia eventually decided that it was not his physique that needed to be changed but his style of pitching.
Realizing that his pitch speed is not what it used to be, CC almost completely gave up the use of his four-seam fastball, and in its place, he learned to throw a cutter.
The use of these pitches with movement instead of power has resulted in a new and improved C.C. The last two seasons he’s had an ERA under 4.00 the last, and this season he’s at an impressive 2.23.
However, these adjustments have seemed to interfere with Sabathia’s desire to pitch into his 40s. Instead, C.C. has voiced his inclination to retire after one more championship. After already winning a Cy Young and making numerous all-star teams CC does not seem too interested in personal achievements at this point in his career if they do not result in another World Series ring.
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Whether Sabathia will retire after this season could potentially be in the hands of his teammates, but it remains up in the air if he will continue to pitch if the Yankees do not win a championship.