Rumors regarding the next free agent pitcher that the New York Yankees will sign are running rampant, but the best option may already be on the team. While former ace pitcher CC Sabathia has not exactly been productive over the past few seasons, he may finally be healthy again.
After undergoing knee surgery in 2014, Sabathia had a frustrating 2015 season. His ERA of 4.73 was actually his best since 2012, but the Yankees were expecting much more from their ace. In addition to the 4.73 ERA, he also posted a WAR of 1.1, which was also his highest since 2012. The good news for Yankees’ fans and Sabathia is that he finished the year strong. He only gave up seven earned runs over his final five games, which was one of his best stretches in a long time.
While the last few poor seasons can be attributed to injuries, Sabathia recently announced that he has been living as an alcoholic since 2012, according to the New York Daily News. While he thought that he could continue to drink excessively without it hurting his pitching, Sabathia finally realized that he had a huge problem. He spoke to the New York Daily News regarding his realization that he needed serious help.
“I woke up on that Sunday and was like, ‘I can’t do this no more.’ I came in on Sunday and felt like I needed to get some help. I know it was bad timing, but I felt like if I didn’t tell somebody then, I would have been in real trouble. It was just me kind of telling him (Girardi) what I’m going through. That conversation was a tough one for me. I just told them that I had been struggling and trying to deal with this. They were nothing but supportive. I just felt like it was a big weight off my shoulders by telling somebody and letting the team know.”
While not many pitchers have had a resurgence at 35-years-old, Sabathia has the chance to defy all odds. According to the New York Post, he is getting treatment for his alcohol addiction and knee. While it is reported that the knee is not perfect, it is in much better shape than it was last year. The brace will help stabilize it, and he should have more control and velocity this season than in previous years.
Due $25 million this year, the Yankees desperately need Sabathia to at least resemble his old self. Yankees’ pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report to spring training in Florida on Feb. 18, but Sabathia is already there. While it has been said before, early reports claim that Sabathia is looking better than he has in years. This should be taken with a grain of salt though, as reports are always optimistic in the beginning of the season. Still, Sabathia is a prideful man and has worked extremely hard to become the productive pitcher that he once was.
While Sabathia is unlikely to become the top-five pitcher that he was at his peak, he could still be a viable No. 2 option when healthy. Even in a down year, Masahiro Tanaka still had a great season for the Yankees. In his sophomore campaign, he had an ERA of 3.51 and a WAR of 3.1. Injuries likely attributed to Tanaka’s down numbers, but he appears to be healthy and ready for 2016.
As previously reported by The Inquisitr, the New York Yankees have rumored to be interested in former Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Cliff Lee and former San Francisco Giants pitcher Tim Lincecum. While Lee and Lincecum are no longer the same pitchers that they once were, either of them could form a solid rotation along with Sabathia and Tanaka.
Much of the New York Yankees’ success this year is going to hinge on CC Sabathia’s health. While they can still be a solid team without him, a healthy Sabathia could really give them a chance in the AL East. Rumors will continue to swirl regarding the Yankees’ pitching options, but Sabathia may be the guy that they really need.
[Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images]