CC Sabathia announced he will retire following the 2019 season. Going into this past offseason, I thought one of the biggest moves the Yankees needed to make was resigning Sabathia. The Yanks are such a young team that there needs to be veteran leadership present in the clubhouse. Granted, Sabathia isn’t the same pitcher he used to be.
He learned that once the injuries started piling up and he started to get older he was going to have to change his pitching style. He went from a flame-throwing lefty to a finesse pitcher who gets hitters out with off-speed pitches and pinpoint location rather than just blowing a fastball by batters. Sabathia is one of the biggest competitors on the Yankees roster, no question.
His sheer will and determination have him placed as the leader of this young team. He and Brett Gardner are the lone veterans on this team who were there for the teams 2009 World Series championship. For that reason, the Yankees needed to bring CC back. Now here’s what Aaron Boone should do with Sabathia entering his final season.
Sabathia isn’t the same pitcher that he was 10 years ago and he never will be again. The 2017 season was an anomaly for CC when he went 14-5 with a 3.69 ERA. With his health concerns, there’s a good chance we won’t see similar numbers this season. In 2018 CC was solid again going 9-7 with a 3.65 ERA, but unlike 2017 he faltered in the playoffs.
Down the stretch, he would only last roughly four to five innings. Granted these were solid innings for the veteran, but he would be pulled once hr an into some trouble and had a very short leash. This season, that’s not going to cut it. The game has changed into a more bullpen centric pitching style, but you don’t want to ring in your top relievers after two or three innings.
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The best course of action is for Sabathia to be put into the bullpen once he returns from the injured list. Convert him into a long reliever who can give you a solid three to four innings if a starter can’t go more than five innings. Boone could even bring him in if they scratch someone from a start.
CC has more value to the Yankees as a leader at this stage in his career. It was a necessity that they brought him back for 2019 and they did, but his role is changed. He’s not the pitcher teams would rely on to throw seven-plus innings in any game, especially in a decisive game. He has flourished as a leader to these young players who emerged as the new generation of Yankees.
The amount of respect that Aaron Judge, Aaron Hicks, and others have for him is insurmountable.
"He’s like a big brother, man,” center fielder Aaron Hicks said. “There’s certain conversations we’d have, whether it’s talking about just life in general or enjoying playing baseball. – VIA COLEY HARVEY, ESPN STAFF WRITER"
Sabathia is the captain of the 2019 New York Yankees.