Yankees Inc. Inks

sabathia_250_121008.jpgAccording to rumors widely circulating at this hour, the Yankees have bagged their big man, reaching a preliminary agreement with CC Sabathia on a seven-year, $160 million contract. If the story is true, the Yankees have acquired the heaviest pitcher in team history, or at least the heaviest since Jumbo Brown last titled the Yankee Stadium mound back in 1936, through his age-35 season.

There is no doubt the Yankees are a better team now than they were yesterday; Sabathia is one of the best pitchers in the business and becomes the left-handed ace the Yankees have been missing for some years. While the Yankees should not expect to receive anything close to the 1.65 ERA-run that Sabathia gave the Brewers this fall, some form of what Sabathia did for the Indians over the last five seasons — durability, excellent control, a strong strikeout rate, and an ERA somewhere in the mid-3.00s — should be in the cards.

Now the requisite “but:” All of that requires health, and the Yankees are entering unknown territory when it comes to Sabathia. Over the last two years he’s thrown over 500 innings (regular season and playoffs) and faced well over 2,000 batters. Under normal circumstances, when it comes to that kind of workload, a physical breakdown wouldn’t be a question of “if,” but “when.” The two main complications are that “when” remains undefined (Tuesday? July? July of 2010?) and, perhaps more significantly, we have no idea if a pitcher built like the Incredible Hulk is subject to the same rules that affect everyone else.

Meanwhile, there are reportedly offers out to other pitchers, more questionable pitchers — Derek Lowe, a groundballer going on 36 who the Yankees aren’t capable of supporting defensively, and A.J. Burnett, a pitcher who is good sometimes and is hurt often. Mark Teixeira seems a good bet to go to the Red Sox, where he will improve an already very good club for years. The Yankees will go through the winter having gotten exactly what they wanted, but I can’t help but feel, as I have written throughout this offseason, that the real problems of offense and defense are being neglected.

More to come as details emerge.

7 Comments

Remember also that for a while Mike Lamb was our 3rd baseman for 2004 and Bubba Crosby was our CF for 2006, before A-Rod and Damon respectively became the official holders of the position.
And if you are invited again to the Yankees Hot Stove please do insist in your points!

I think the offense is worse off than people realize. ARod is the only player that you can honestly say will be above average for his position. He will, fortunatley, be way above average. But the chances that LF, CF, RF, DH and 1B will be anything better than average are not high. Swisher in CF is above average, at 1B in his absolute best year he is average – .260/.370/.490. Cano, Jeter and Posada are questions marks. I am optimistic that they can all recover, but not convinced. Signing Teixeira would allow them to upgrade an OF spot and 1B by moving Swisher to the outfield. Either putting him in CF (his defensive numbers are good there) or platooning him with Nady, as you have suggested.
Either way, while CC is a great addition, I am still wary that this team has the lineup it needs to compete.

If, in addition to CC, the Yankees sign 2 more big name FA pitchers without further upgrading the offense/defense, they’re going to resemble the 2008 Blue Jays: great pitching, mediocre offense (though the Jays were a much better fielding team). That’s probably not going to be good enough in the AL East next year.

On the FAN this morning Jon Heyman described Sabathia as “one of the two best pitchers in baseball.”
Why do they keep asking Heyman for his opinion about anything?

Hey, Steven …

No doubt, the Yankees signing of CC Sabathia is great news for the Yankees Organization, and all Yankee fans … CC was the Yankees top priority this winter, and now they have signed him !!! … But, I totally agree with your thoughts at the end of your post when you said, the Yankees “real problems of offense and defense are being neglected” !!! … The Yankees still need more starting pitching, and their focus should be: Derek Lowe and Ben Sheets, as well as, re-signing Andy Pettitte … The Yanks main “next” focus, though, should be the signing of Mark Teixeira, and, also, the re-signing of Bobby Abreu … In my view, the Yankees are a much stronger team with Teixeira at first, and Abreu in right; then, with, Swisher at first base, and Gardner in centerfield !!! … Anyway, Steven, your “Pinstriped Bible” is an excellent blog … Keep up the great work !!! ….. Best Wishes, Jimmy [27NYY] ….. http://baseballtheyankeesandlife.mlblogs.com/

The signing of Texiera would give the Yanks an excellent 1st baseman and very good switch hitter. Texiera hitting in front of or behind A-Rod would make a great 3-4 or 4-5 hitter combo. Allowing the Red Sox to sign Texiera is an even bigger error. The Yanks present hitting line-up is downright mediocre the way it is now and I think the Yanks will regret not signing Texiera for many years if they don’t obtain him. Pitching, pitching, pitching withour hitting isn’t going to get it done.

It seems foolish that the Yankees are only going after pitchers. It’s great if your pitchers can hold the opposing team to only a few runs, but it doesn’t help if your team isn’t scoring or fielding well. I’d love to know what they’re thinking.

Julia
http://werbiefitz.mlblogs.com/

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