MLB Playoffs: CC Sabathia Has Pitched His Last Game for the New York Yankees

Perry ArnoldSenior Analyst IOctober 4, 2011

Sabathia pitched his last game for the Yankees
Sabathia pitched his last game for the YankeesLeon Halip/Getty Images

CC Sabathia has pitched his last game for the New York Yankees.

In Game 3 of the American League Division Series, played last night in Detroit, Sabathia threw 106 pitches and came away with no decision.

Even though the stat sheet will not show it, Sabathia lost the game.

Sabathia was never in control. He had no rhythm. He had no intimidation. He had no chance.

Miguel Cabrera did not beat Sabathia. Neither did Victor Martinez or Magglio Ordonez.

Sabathia was beaten by Brandon Inge. He was beaten by Ramon Santiago. He was beaten by six walks.

The Yankees will lose the ALDS tonight when Rick Porcello pitches for Detroit and the Yankees have no choice but to use AJ Burnett.

Sabathia will see no further action this postseason. He will never pitch for the Yankees again.

There are numerous reasons for this.

Sabathia turned 31 years old in July this year.

Sabathia signed a contract in December, 2008 that gave him an opt-out after three seasons. 

One might wonder why a 31-year-old pitcher who is being paid $23 million per year would put himself back on the market.

Because he is one of the best pitchers in baseball, and he will ask for seven years instead of the remaining four on his current contract.

He is owed $92 million over the next four years.

Even if he takes an annual pay cut (not likely) he can sign for seven years at $20 million per year, and he would be guaranteed $120 million.

He will opt out of his contract.

The next question is whether the Yankees will add another three years to his contract.

First of all, no one knows now who will negotiate that contract.  In all likelihood, Brian Cashman will not be the Yankee General Manager beyond October 15.

But whoever becomes the New York GM will have to convince Hal and Hank and Jennifer to burden their family fortune with a contract similar to what Alex Rodriguez was given after he exercised his option.

The Steinbrenner family cannot look at the 300-pound Sabathia and believe that a seven year contract is a good risk.

But even if Jennifer can convince her brothers that she really wants the big lefty back in the Bronx clubhouse, CC will not re-sign with the Yankees.

Sabathia is a very smart baseball player.  He can read his situation.

He is on an aging team with players who have passed their prime and may not hold up physically (plug in Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez here).

He is on a team that has failed to make the big transactions necessary to allow them to compete (plug in Cliff Lee, Jason Werth and Carl Crawford here).

In the 2008 offseason the Yankees did everything they could to guarantee they would raise another championship flag in 2009.

Since then, the only acquisition they have made that improved the team has been Curtis Granderson.  Despite Grandy’s 41 home runs this year, you can still argue the team gave up too much to get him (plug in Austin Jackson, Phil Coke and Ian Kennedy here).

But more than that, the Yankees have misused Sabathia.

It is well known that CC loves to work often and long.

He often threw in the past on three days rest and led Milwaukee to the post season in 2008 by doing so.

Not with the Yankees. 

During the 2011 season, Sabathia started 33 games.

Nineteen times he did so on what has become “normal” rest—four days.

But 12 times, Joe Girardi held Sabathia out and pitched him on five days rest.  Once, CC started on six days rest.

Sabathia does not like the way he has been used. 

He could have done more for this team.

He has not been allowed to do so.

For all these reasons, no one will see CC Sabathia wearing No. 52 in Yankee pinstripes again.


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