I find it funny that Yankee fans are already proclaiming that CC Sabathia is the greatest free-agent pitcher signing in team history. I'm including amateur free agents and players who have already pitched professionally.
Colin Linneweber of Bleacher Report offers an article titled "CC Sabathia's the Greatest Free-Agent Pitcher the Yanks Have Ever Signed."
He offers quotes from Joe Girardi and Mike Scioscia of his performances in the 2009 postseason. Sabathia has had a stellar postseason going 3-0 with a 1.19 ERA, but last time I checked Sabathia has only been in New York for less than a year.
Sabathia still has another six plus years left on his contract that he signed during the offseason. In the regular season Sabathia put up some good numbers going 19-8 with a 3.37 ERA, 34 games started, two complete games, one shutout, 197 strikeouts to 67 walks, and a WHIP of 1.148
Even though Sabathia led the American League in wins with 19, he was outpitched by other American League starters and with the amount that was offered to him, which was $150 million for seven years, I find that Sabathia had a good season, but not a great one.
Sabathia is being paid like the No. 1 starter in baseball, but he's not. He was fourth in ERA, seventh in strikeouts, tied for No. 1 with 19 wins, tied for seventh in shutouts, No. 9 in complete games, No. 19 in terms of quality starts percentage, and tied for sixth in quality starts.
These rankings are all of the American League; They do not include National League, and if they did, Sabathia's numbers would be different as well.
On the article there is a survey, and boy, was I surprised by the results. So far there have been 23 votes and 73.9 percent have said that Sabathia was the greatest, 17.4 percent said to-be-determined, and 8.7 percent said no.
Well the minority wins on this one. Sabathia is not the greatest free-agent pitcher the Yankees have signed. Although, he could at some point become the greatest free-agent signing for the Yankees it will take a few years.
I guess during the writing of the article there was very little research done in regards to free agent pitchers the Yankees have signed. Even though I'm not a Yankee fan I know at least two pitchers who have the longevity and have had stellar careers with the Yankees.
Andy Pettite is one and the other is Mariano Rivera. Catfish Hunter might ring a bell as well; Mike Mussina and his longevity with the Yankees and 123 wins helps, and it means Sabathia has a long way to go to catch up. David Cone is another name and Jimmy Key.
Now here's a look at Catfish Hunter's numbers in his first year with the Yankees: 23 wins, 2.58 ERA, 39 games, 30 complete games, seven shutouts, 328 innings, 177 strikeouts to 83 walks, and a whip of 1.00
Jimmy Key even had a better year than Sabathia's first year with the club and his numbers look like this: 18 wins, 3.00 ERA, 34 games, four complete games, two shutouts, 236.2 innings, 173 strikeouts and 43 walks, and a whip of 1.107
Mike Mussina's first season with the Yankees looked like this: 17 wins, 3.15 ERA, 34 games started, four complete games, three shutouts, 228.2 innings, 214 strikeouts to 42 walks, and a whip of 1.07
Tommy John could also be mentioned as well. Numbers he put up in his first season with the Yankees look like this: 21 wins, 2.96 ERA, 36 starts, 17 complete games, three shutouts, 276.1 innings, 111 strikeouts to 65 walks, and a whip of 1.205
Fritz Peterson could join the list as well in his first season with the Yankees after signing as an amateur free agent his numbers looked like this: 17 wins, 2.55 ERA, 37 games, 16 complete games, four shutouts, 272 innings, 150 strikeouts to 43 walks, an a whip of .996
The Yankees also have signed the likes of Goose Gossage as a free agent as well. He was not a starter, but he performed extremely well as a closer for the Yankees.
So, before granting the proclamation that Sabathia is the greatest free-agent pitcher that the Yankees have signed, give it time, and even after that time I'm sure Yankee fans will have an easy time choosing over Rivera over Sabathia!