Based on his and the team’s performance after his first three and a half seasons in pinstripes, the free agent signing of CC Sabathia had to be considered at that time, one of the best decisions a Yankee front office ever made. Carsten Charles had done just about everything the Yankees hoped he would do when they agreed to pay him just over $160 million to pitch eight seasons for New York. During the first year of that contract in 2009, he led the AL in wins with 19 and pitched 230 innings during the regular season. He was a major reason why the Yankees got into that year’s World Series when he won his only start against Minnesota and both his starts against the Angels in the ’09 League playoffs. And even though he lost his only decision in the Phillies’ Series, he did keep the Yankees in Game 4, a game they eventually won.
In 2010, he repeated as the AL victories leader with 21 wins and he threw 237 innings. He should have won the AL Cy Young Award for his performance but for some reason, lost it to Felix Hernandez. He did not pitch super well in the 2010 postseason but he did win both of his decisions.
In 2011, Sabathia finished the regular season with a 19-8 record and an even 3.00 ERA. He was the glue that held New York’s patch worked starting rotation together. He was practically un-hittable during much of the second half of the season but was ineffective during his one appearance against the Tigers in the 2011 postseason. I sort of blame that bad final start on Joe Girardi and his Yankee pitching brain trust. When New York had opened up a big lead in the AL East late in the 2011 regular season, Girardi decided he was going to give his top starters a few days off. I’ve always felt that CC needed to pitch a lot to be effective. He depends so much on rhythm and when Girardi stopped starting him every fifth day, I was worried he’d lose the marvelous rhythm he had been in. To make matters even worse, when the rains came in the second inning of Game 1, in the ALDS between New York and Detroit, CC did not return to the mound after the long delay that day. When he came back to pitch in Game 3, he was simply not sharp.
The fact that CC had that opt-out clause in his contract after the 2011 season made me very nervous. After the way the Yankee front office had been taken to the cleaners by A-Rod over his opt-out years earlier and then botched up Derek Jeter’s contract negotiations in 2010, I was unsure if CC was going to still be in pinstripes when the 2012 season opened. He remained a Yankee, though it did cost 50 million more Yankee bucks to be able to say that. It has not proven to be a brilliant investment thus far. After a 15-6 season in 2012, CC experienced a huge drop-off in 2012 after showing up in training camp that season fifty pounds lighter. His knee then gave out in 2014 causing him to miss most of that season and this far in 2015, he has been the Yankees’ must unreliable starter.
The Yankees signed CC Sabathia hoping this big left-hander would give them a chance to win every time he took the mound and up until three seasons ago, that is exactly what he did in a Yankee uniform. I still have my fingers crossed that an older CC can learn how to consistently get outs with a slower fastball and sore knee. He turns 35-years-old today.
|CLE (8 yrs)||106||71||.599||3.83||237||237||0||19||7||0||1528.2||1435||700||650||144||498||1265||1.265|
|NYY (7 yrs)||95||54||.638||3.74||186||186||0||12||2||0||1262.1||1224||580||524||134||341||1128||1.240|
|MIL (1 yr)||11||2||.846||1.65||17||17||0||7||3||0||130.2||106||31||24||6||25||128||1.003|