On the same day that CC Sabathia purchased a twelve-thousand dollar ad in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, I'd like to pose a question of ethics to the Milwaukee Brewers organization.
A gentle-giant such as CC Sabathia, a professional athlete with un-rivaled mix of professionalism, emotion, care for his city and team, is being abused.
No question about it, Sabathia is a horse and an innings eater. In his previous six games with the Cleveland Indians he threw at least 110 pitches. Yet in his five starts for the Brewers, he's only thrown 110 pitches three times; however, two of those include games with over 120 pitches thrown.
CC can handle it; we've seen him do it before. You can tell when he's starting to tire, he really isn't a guy you need a pitch count to decide when it's time to take him out.
However, do the Brewers have any regard for the future of CC Sabathia? Sure, they gave up some prime prospects to get their hands on the big guy and they know full well he won't be in Milwaukee after this season.
But, are they abusing the privilege of acquiring a Cy Young caliber pitcher?
Sabathia has thrown 559 total pitches since the trade, the most for any five game stretch this year.
Last year, after the All-Star break, Sabathia threw 107 innings in 15 games. This year he's on pace to throw 121 innings in 15 games. In 2007's second half he threw 1,597 pitches. His projection for this year's second half is 1,700 pitches.
I don't want to look at his performance because to me, it is irrelevant for what the issue is here.
The issue I have is simply put. What will this overuse do to the longevity of Sabathia’s career? He's always thrown a lot of pitches, but should it be okay for the Brewers to throw him at will with no regard to his future?
Sabathia is the consummate professional. He's going to take the ball every time you ask him to. He'll go out and throw 200 pitches if you ask him to. He is always willing to put the team first when it comes to baseball.
However as much as it pains me to say it, it's time for CC Sabathia to be thinking about CC Sabathia. He is carrying around a 100 million dollar, by his own admission by rejecting the Indians 18 million dollars, four year contract arm.
He is going to get paid come the offseason, something he's worked 10 plus years of professional baseball for. It will be the ultimate end of the world for the Brewers organization if his arm succumbs to overuse. Milwaukee will be left with a whole lot of egg on their face.
What are the chances of that happening? I'd say the odds are pretty long, but it still makes me wonder. I still care about CC and his success. He's worked too hard to get to this point in his career and it would be a crying shame if something happened because a team was that desperate to get whatever they could out of him.
Sabathia turned down a contract from a city he loved, as evidence by the ad he put out in today's Cleveland Plain Dealer. He did so because he believed he was worth a lot more than what the Indians offered him. He should have a fair shot at getting that money like everyone else does.
I hope for Milwaukee's sake, CC just keeps chugging along and leads them to the playoffs and doesn't break down. For CC's sake I hope he doesn't put too much pressure on himself because of it.