What are the New York Yankees going to do with CC Sabathia? After his Sunday start, the Yankees left-hander is 3-4 with an ERA of 5.75. Despite striking out more than a batter an inning, he has a WHIP of 1.45.
It didn’t seem possible, but Sabathia is even worse than he was last year and, considering he had the worst season of his career, that is a terrible sign. The Yankees entered the year with playoff aspirations, and since they are sitting atop the A.L. East by 0.5 games very early in the season, those hopes aren’t quite out of the window yet. If that is to continue, however, Sabathia needs to join the party. His current performances need to stop, especially with the state of the rest of the Yankees rotation.
With the exception of Masahiro Tanaka, the New York Yankees rotation is in a complete shambles. With CC Sabathia turning in another terrible start on Sunday afternoon, both he and Hiroki Kuroda have season ERAs above 5, and Ivan Nova’s replacement, Vida Nuno, tops them both with an ERA of 6.87. Also, there is no way to tell when Michael Pineda will return and, if he does, it’s not likely he’ll continue to pitch to a sub 2.00 ERA.
As it stands now, the Yankees depend on Tanaka to go out and win them a game, then they must throw up a wish and a prayer on the other four days. At least they were able to call up Alfredo Aceves, the quirky well-traveled reliever who had such success with them in 2009, to give their beleaguered bullpen a breather on Sunday.
So the Yankees clearly need to do something. Replacing him is not really an option as the Yankees have no real alternatives. Vidal Nuno is already replacing Ivan Nova, David Phelps is subbing in for Michael Pineda and Adam Warren has been dominant out of the bullpen and likely should remain there.
Best case scenario is CC Sabathia turns his season around. It’s too late for a wonderful season but he can certainly salvage what’s left of it. The problem is that nobody seems to know what’s ailing him. Presumably he is healthy so this is not a physical concern.
Instead it is an ongoing struggle for him to adjust to no longer having his 90+ velocity. Too often his fastball and his breaking pitches have leaked out over the plate. Over his first few starts, it was really just one bad inning, but lately it has been overall poor starts. Sabathia insists, and Larry Rothschild and Joe Girardi back him up, that the adjustment will happen.
For the Yankees, the question is, how long can the Yankees wait? And if they decide they can’t wait much longer, what do they do with CC Sabathia?