Credit: Associated Press
CC Sabathia. What to do…
There’s no doubt we would not have celebrated a World Series championship in 2009 if not for the efforts of one Carsten Charles Sabathia, Jr. For the first three years of his contract with the Yankees, he was the epitome of an Ace. I would never want to dismiss the contributions he has made to the Yankees organization or the value he has held as a leading voice in the clubhouse.
The times they are a-changin (with a hat tip to Bob Dylan). Sabathia is now 36 and is clearly no longer the pitcher he once was. He’ll be 37 in a couple of months, and despite his long talks with Andy Pettitte, he has not successfully made the transition to an older pitcher. I was fooled for the first couple of starts this year, but we’ve seen the real Sabathia over the last few starts…and it hasn’t been pretty.
At age 32 and before, CC could be counted on for double-digit wins every year. From age 33 forward, last year’s 9 wins has been the season high. Betting whether or not Sabathia passes last season’s win total is not a bet I would make even if I was using your money. Pro Sports can be illogical at times when certain players start because of high contracts or past performance even though there are younger, more talented players waiting in the wings. Years ago, a friend told me that baseball players should be paid a flat base salary and then commissions for production. Applying that to different positions and players is much easier said than done, but the core logic that players should be paid for today’s production (not yesterday) makes so much sense to me. We’re in the final year of Sabathia’s contract with $25 million remaining. Does Sabathia deserve a spot in the rotation simply because he is the team’s highest paid player? If he is not producing, then no. Why pay money to lose when you can win?
In looking at the Yankees rotation, if they made a trade for a frontline starting pitcher, who do you pull? At this point, Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda, and Luis Severino are locked in. The latter two have shown signs of being a part of the next championship run. Jordan Montgomery has been a very pleasant surprise who will continue to get better. So, realistically, the loser would have to be Sabathia. I don’t know that I’d pull Sabathia for Chad Green or Luis Cessa, but Chance Adams is charging fast for the Major Leagues. He may not be ready now, but his time is rapidly approaching. If the Yankees go out and trade for someone like Pittsburgh’s Gerrit Cole, I’d gladly part with Clint Frazier, Justus Sheffield and others to bring the talented young pitcher to the Bronx. For Sabathia, I’d pull out a Michael Kay line, “See ya!”.
There’s no way that Sabathia is pulling on the pinstripes in 2018. We are approaching the point where every start could be his last in the Bronx. If he continues to thwart winning streaks, then it is time to cut our losses. Swallow the remainder of the $25 mil and move on.
Thanks for the memories, CC. We’ll save you a place for Old Timer’s Day…
Credit: Andrew Theodorakis/New York Daily News
I have mixed feelings about Aaron Judge’s appearance on the May 15th cover of Sports Illustrated. I grew up at a time where it was a curse to appear on the cover. So, I still have those thoughts in the back of my head even if bad things never happen. I have been quite pleased with Judge’s season so far and he gives New York a potential superstar. But admittedly, I liked it better when Judge was able to out-produce expectations. With heightened expectations, can he sustain the production? That will be one of the keys for the rest of the season. We’ll inevitably hit a stretch where he can’t (hit). The ebbs and flows of Baseball ensures that everyone stays humble. So, for now, congrats Aaron, but please hit a homer on May 16th (Yankees are off on the 15th) so that I know the SI Cover is not a jinx.
I’d like to send out thoughts and prayers to Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Jameson Taillon, whom the Yankees faced on April 22nd in an 11-5 victory over the Pirates. He underwent surgery for suspected testicular cancer earlier this week. Hopefully it was caught early and he’ll make a full and complete recovery. Taillon is one of the game’s promising young talents and I look for many future years of his participation. All the best to Jameson on his road to a winning recovery. Here is a tweet that he sent out after the surgery:
I think all Baseball fans support Taillon. Well written words by the tall young right-hander. Here’s looking forward to the day that he is able to take the mound at PNC Park again.
Have a great Thursday! Let’s hose the ‘Stros!
Okay, it was not quite that bad. Still, it was a disappointing loss. It would have looked so much different if Greg Bird had homered in the third instead of pulling it foul. He had another chance to do damage in the fifth, but was unable to push any runs across (although he did reach on a fielding error which allowed Jacoby Ellsbury and Aaron Judge to score). He finished the night 0-for-4, dropping his batting average to .122. When he does start hitting, he’ll quickly become a fan favorite.
The Yankees lost to the Pittsburgh Pirates, 6-3, and fell 1 1/2 games behind the Baltimore Orioles. The O’s beat the Boston Red Sox, 2-0, behind a stellar pitching performance by Dylan Bundy. With the Red Sox loss, the Yankees maintained their slight hold on second place.
This was a winnable game. Even though it was an off-night for starter CC Sabathia, he kept the team in the game and lasted five innings. We cannot expect the vintage Sabathia every outing. He is, after all, a 36 year old who had to reinvent himself. This is not 2009 even if he lulled us into that thinking with his first couple of starts.
It’s hard to put a finger on any single reason for the loss. Bird’s slow start. Sabathia’s underwhelming performance. Chase Headley’s base running skills. Starlin Castro’s fielding. Aaron Judge’s six men left on base. It was just one of those nights. Shoulda, coulda, woulda…but it didn’t happen.
Oh well, today is a new day. Michael Pineda takes the mound against Pittsburgh’s talented young righthander, Jameson Taillon. Pineda will need to bring his ‘A’ game but if he has truly turned the corner, I am sure he will. With Baltimore and Boston looming next week, the Yankees cannot afford to stumble in the Steel City.
Let’s re-set this post’s image…
The Yankees need to figure out a way to get Aaron Hicks into the lineup. Limited to pinch hitting, he did single in the eighth last night. I hate rehashing why the Yankees should trade Brett Gardner, but I keep watching the San Francisco Giants and their troubles with left field. Their starting left fielder, Jarrett Parker, is out for a couple of months with a broken right clavicle. They signed Melvin Upton, Jr to a minors deal following his release by the Toronto Blue Jays, but he had surgery to repair a torn ligament in his thumb so he is down for a couple of months too. In last night’s loss to the Colorado Rockies, they were playing journeyman Chris Marrero who has struggled to find a home in the Majors for the last few years. Marrero did homer but he is only batting .152 (5-for-33). I’ve always thought Gardner would be a good fit in San Francisco. The Giants have the prospects for a match. The “reach for the sky” choice would be 23-year-old RHP Tyler Beede, but GM Brian Cashman would have to include more than Gardner to make it happen. Gardner would be easier to trade if he wasn’t hitting only .192. His bat will come around so when it does, Cashman should get Giants EVP-Baseball Operations Brian Sabean or GM Bobby Evans on the phone to strike a deal.
Credit: Getty Images
It’s good to see shortstop Didi Gregorius in rehab games. On Friday night, he was 2-for-3 with six innings of work for the High A Tampa Yankees. He’s on track to return to the Bronx the beginning of May. I am sure that he’s motivated to be back for the two game series in Cincinnati beginning on May 8th as the Reds are his original team. Of course, that’s also true for a certain flame-throwing closer as well as a YES Network announcer who proudly wore #21 in the Bronx for a few years.
Speaking of numbers, Rickey Henderson, Tino Martinez, and Robinson Cano should be very pleased to hear that their former MLB jersey has cracked the top 10 for most popular jerseys sold…thanks to Gary Sanchez. According to MLB.com, Sanchez has the ninth most popular jersey, ahead of the Los Angeles Angels star outfielder, Mike Trout. There were four Cubs, two Dodgers, two Giants, and no Red Sox in the Top 8.
Have a great Saturday! Yankees, just bring it! We want one for the win column!