In one of the more underrated moves in a surprisingly quiet offseason, the New York Yankees reached a one-year, $10 million agreement to bring back veteran left-hander CC Sabathia on Dec. 16.
When the signing became official 10 days later, it helped to further solidify an already strong Yankees rotation that will also be bringing back key starters in Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka and Sonny Gray, and could still add on if the asking price for free agent Yu Darvish or trade candidate Gerrit Cole comes down.
Though the Yankees would have other options, bringing back Sabathia still felt like a crucial move for them heading into the 2018 season. In many ways, Sabathia is the glue that holds everything together for their rotation. Though Sabathia’s days as an ace are behind him, he’s still someone new manager Aaron Boone will feel comfortable turning to in a critical game. He was often at his best when the Yankees needed him most in 2017, and there’s no reason to believe that will change now.
Fortunately for New York, it sounds like Sabathia didn’t put much thought into signing elsewhere. You might automatically think the money New York offered is the biggest reason for that. Hey, $10 million is nothing to sneeze at. But Sabathia himself suggests there was another logical reason beyond the financial details.
Speaking recently on the Players’ Tribune Podcast R2C2, Sabathia specifically noted he wanted no part of facing the Yankees incredible lineup.
“No. Absolutely not,” Sabathia responded when asked if he’d want to face the Yankees 2018 lineup. “And that’s why I wouldn’t have gone to the Blue Jays. If I’m going to be in the East, I’m going to be on the best team. I’m not coming to Yankee Stadium and getting my ass kicked.”
First of all, that’s a great quote. Second, it makes perfectly good sense to us.
Though many pitchers will relish the challenge of facing New York’s lineup with Giancarlo Stanton now in the mix, Sabathia’s been around long enough to know it’s better to stay with them than face them. Besides, what more is there for him to accomplish other than winning a World Series? Playing on this Yankees team in 2018 could be his best chance and even his final chance to make that dream a reality.
We don’t blame CC Sabathia one bit for jumping at that opportunity. Above all, we appreciate his honesty.
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