With news that CC Sabathia is staying with the Yankees after deciding not to opt of his contract, it means that the Yankee faithful will be enjoying one of the best pitchers in baseball a little longer.
In his three years, Sabathia has gone 59-23 with a 3.18 ERA, been selected to two All-Star games and helped the Yankees win a World Series title. He's won no fewer than 19 games every season, and last year he was arguably a Top 3 pitcher in the American League.
There's no doubt that it's already been money well spent and here's some bold predictions for how the next six years of his career will turn out.
Sabathia is averaging 17 wins a season in his career and hasn't won lower than 17 since 2007. So at 31-years-old, it's not a stretch to say that he could continue at that pace give or take a win or two. He currently has 176 wins.
Over the next six years, if that average holds, he'll win 102 games, giving him 278. I'll say that he wins at worst 98-100, assuming he slows down as he gets older, so he'll be anywhere from 22-25 wins shy.
Many have said that he's the pitcher with the best chance to win 300 wins and at the end of his contract, he'll prove everyone right.
The Yankees have given Sabathia some great run support over his career, so it's not a surprise to expect two more 20-win seasons. He's still in his prime, so it's possible this could happen over the next two to three seasons.
He's won 19 during two of his first three seasons. So as the Yankees offense stays together around Mark Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez and Robinson Cano, another bold prediction is that he finally crosses that 20-win barrier at least twice.
If you think it's a stretch, consider that in the last two seasons, he's gotten to September with 18 wins. He's due for another 20-win season and my bet is that he does it more than once.
Sabathia hasn't won the Cy Young since 2007. He finished 4th in 2009 and 3rd in 2010, a season where some argued he should've won it.
It's assumed that voters see Sabathia's run support and assume that he's winning on the strength of that. Yet, Sabathia has also carried a Yankees staff that beyond him has been inconsistent—without him would surely doom the Yankees.
To be fair, in 2010, he did have to deal with an impressive season by Felix Hernandez. And this year, Justin Verlander had a season for the ages so there's no argument that Verlander should win (and do so unanimously in my opinion).
But over the next six years, it's hard to believe Sabathia won't get at least one more Cy Young Award. Just like him crossing the 20-win plateau, he's overdue for a strong season (combined with his typical strong second half efforts) that will see him earn some more hardware.
Don't get too happy here, Yankees fans. There's a flip side to this prediction.
First, the good. The Yankees are in better shape than the Red Sox entering 2012 and that means the AL East will be a two-horse race with AL Wild Card-winning Tampa Bay, unless Baltimore or Toronto surprise all of baseball with a great run.
Here's the bad, the Yankees will also experience some harsh disappointment. Sabathia has given up 13 earned runs in his last 3 playoff starts and hasn't been the reliable the postseason starter he was in 2009 when he won the ALCS MVP and went 3-1 in five postseason starts.
He may be able to carry them to one more title but I also feel like he'll be part of the reason why they'll have another title drought unless their bats come alive or they get some more arms around him.
Overall, Sabathia did the right thing signing the extension. As much as I'd love for him to return back home to the West Coast, his loyalty and commitment are a big reason why he's become part of the Yankee family. And over the next six years, he'll reward them with even more wins and dominant outings.
If Yankee fans judge big signings by rings, however, it might not be a total success only because they are expecting multiple championships. Sabathia only winning maybe one more ring (at best) might be seen as a failure instead of the success that it should be.
Yet, I think Yankee fans will have more to cheer about than jeer about. They have one of the best aces in baseball for the better part of this decade and there's no doubt they'll embrace whatever he brings them because of his on-field success and off-field class.