Once a Star, What’s Next for Sabathia?
C.C. Sabathia was once a first round pick for the Cleveland Indians in 1998. He was once a Cy Young award winner in 2007. He was once the highest paid pitcher in the majors. Sabathia even led the Milwaukee Brewers into the playoffs nearly single-handedly in 2008. With all of these accolades and honors in his back pocket, it’s
hard to believe that the once prized pitcher in CC Sabathia is fighting for a spot in the New York Yankees rotation.
It’s unusual for a pitcher to make $25 million a year and not have a definitive spot in a pitching rotation, but that is where the New York Yankees lie with their once-upon-a-time ace. After several surgeries on his debilitating knee and a battle with alcohol addiction that landed him a spot on a rehab’s roster, Sabathia is grateful to just be in spring training competing for a bid.
Last year, Alex Rodriguez was welcomed into the Yankees’ spring training without any expectations from the organization and several question marks regarding the production and durability he was still capable of after his PED suspension. Alex Rodriguez responded by
becoming a fan favorite, and outperforming nearly everyone’s expectations with 33 homers and 86 RBI’s before losing to Prince Fielder for AL Comeback Player of the Year. Sabathia should follow Rodriguez’s humble footsteps from the previous year if he plans to revitalize his playing career as well.
Before entering rehab late last season, prior to his team making it to the playoffs, Sabathia found success wearing a knee brace and was arguably the Yankees’ most effective pitcher down the stretch. Sabathia allowed two or less earned runs in seven of his last nine starts. He knew that it would hurt the team, but said, “I owe it to myself and to my family to get myself right.”
The Future Ahead
Nowadays, Sabathia claims that he feels healthier and stronger than the previous years, and his first spring training start proved so with two scoreless innings. Though the once power pitcher’s fastball is hovering between 85-89 mph now, Sabathia is credited by his peers for accepting the new finesse role and embracing it. Nobody knows how far the success from his first spring training start will continue, but Yankees fans hope that it will provide at least a few glimpses of the team’s old ace that averages over 200 innings a year in his career and helps lead teams into the playoffs on and off the field. All-in-all, nobody truly knows what to expect from CC Sabathia. Not even himself. But we are all awaiting the ride.