Pirates Asked For Who In Return For Cole, Harrison Package?

The Yankees and Pirates have been in ongoing talks regarding Gerrit Cole and it seems as though trade talks are still going on as the Yankees try to add another starter, but it has now been revealed by IBN Sports Wrap that the Yankees are indeed looking to package Josh Harrison and Gerrit Cole together as we suggested a week ago. While the Yankees could use both Harrison and Cole for 2018, the Pirates asking price seems to be a bit high as the Pirates asked the Yankees for Clint Frazier, Chance Adams, and Miguel Andujar in return for Cole and Harrison. The Yankees are reportedly waiting for the price to come down a bit and they are hoping they can shed one bullpen contract in the deal.

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Let’s go ahead and break down this potential deal. The Yankees have tried multiple times to acquire Gerrit Cole and at this point it almost seems it will be destined to happen at some point. The Yankees could obviously use another starter as they lack depth in major league ready pitching, and could use a consistent front of the line to middle pitcher, but is Gerrit Cole really necessary at this point? In a rotation that consists of Luis Severino, Sonny Gray, Masahiro Tanka, CC Sabathia, and Jordan Montgomery with Chance Adams and Justus Sheffield sitting in the minors waiting for their chance one must ask themselves is it worth trading away such a strong class of prospect for Cole in particular?

Over 203 innings last year, Cole put together a very mediocre 4.26 ERA in the national league, and was able to just muster a 3.88 the season prior. He was hurt in large part in 2017 by the long ball, surrendering 31 home runs. Yankee Stadium is obviously a hitter friendly park, and a pitcher coming off a year where he surrendered a career high 31 home runs, and doubled his home run per 9 innings career rate is a bit concerning. Beyond that, Cole has just never been that good. In 2015 he put together a great season with a sparkling 2.60 ERA over 208 innings pitched, while only allowing 183 hits and striking out nearly a batter an inning.

Since 2015 Cole has struggled to find the same success he enjoyed in 2015, but that doesn’t mean that he lacks the stuff to be a top of the line pitcher. Cole made a career high 33 starts last year pitching 203 innings and he never lost any velocity. He maintained his velocity throughout the workload he had this season and the 27 year old has never seen his velocity dip in his pro career. Cole has stayed between 95-96 MPH average fastball throughout his entire big league career. There is no doubt that Gerrit Cole has ace like stuff, don’t believe me? Check this highlight out below of him making Mike Trout look foolish in the 2015 all-star game:

Cole has never reached his potential through his 5 year career and the Yankees could be looking to cash in on the opportunity to rejuvenate his career. Cole was the first pick in the 2011 draft and by the time he debuted in the 2013 season he was a baseball america top 100 prospect. In 2017 Cole tried to start incorporating his change up in more counts, using the pitch 13.4% as opposed to 7.5% the year before and the pitch wasn’t particularly effective for him. Most of the damage done against Cole this season was on off speed pitches that hung over the middle of the plate. The Yankees may be looking to get him back to what he is best at: hard fastball, hard sinker, wipe out slider. Sometimes the best way to bring someone out of their struggles are by simplifying their approach. Cole has a hard fastball with a strong spin rate which makes the ball appear to get out of his hand faster than it actually is. Cole isn’t a terrible piece to try and get, but for the right price and based on results and not stature.

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One week ago we suggested that the Yankees should look into packaging Josh Harrison together in a deal for Gerrit Cole and lo and behold, it looks like that could potentially be the plan. Harrison would be a great pick up for the Yankees. He reminds you of a Yankee from the 90’s dynasty that would do whatever it takes to win, like when he somehow managed to pull off this run down beauty:

Harrison is owed 10 million for the upcoming season and then he has a club option that can be bought out for just 1 million the following year. Although the idea of buying out Harrison’s team friendly 10 million dollar deal is a bit insane. Harrison’s greatness goes beyond his numbers. He is a grinder and a someone who will do whatever it takes to get the job done. He can play pretty much any position on the field which makes him someone that you could use in your long term plans even if Torres pans out and the Yankees sign a third baseman such as Machado. Players that are able to play close to average defense at multiple positions while maintaining a strong bat are a hard commodity to find and the Yankees could wrap it up here by grabbing Harrison.

The 2017 season proved to be a typical season for the 30 year old utility player. He batted .272, going deep 16 times, knocking in 47 runs and more importantly holding onto a .339 on-base-percentage. Harrison grinds out at-bats and if he is in a line up where he is protected by the likes of Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Gary Sanchez, Greg Bird, Didi Gregorious, and company you would imagine that he would put together a great season. Harrison would be a great combo with Gardner to help get on base. The Yankees will obviously hit a lot of home runs this season, but it helps to have people on base when you hit those home runs and Harrison would be a great addition to help get on base for the big sluggers in the middle of the line up.

Moving forward Harrison would undoubtedly fit in the Yankees plans of the future as a veteran that can play any position. He could rotate infield positions and give people days off, he could be your super utility guy that plays a different position almost daily to give people a blow. The Yankees also figure to have an open DH spot for years to come and he could grab some at-bats in the DH role from time to time as well. Harrison to the Yankees makes a lot of sense and it gives the Yankees a great amount of flexibility moving forward with Torres and other potential free agents.

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Unfortunately we figured that red thunder would have to be involved in any deal that brought Cole back to the Bronx and that is OK but it would be tough to send red thunder away after he showed glimpses of greatness with a lightning quick bat and his big personality, but at the end of the day Frazier did only bat .231 with an on-base-percentage of .268 and with the amount of outfield depth that the Yankees have that makes Frazier expendable.

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Speaking of another expendable piece, enter Yankees third base prospect, Miguel Andujar who is the other piece that makes up this deal. Andujar is a hitter, plain and simple the guy can hit. His glove on the other hand, is a different story. After batting .317 between double and triple A this season, Andujar is knocking on the door to the majors and if his glove was reliable he may have been the Yankees every day guy last year as opposed to Todd Frazier. Andujar burst onto the scene by knocking in four runs in his MLB debut

Andujar will most likely hit at the major league level with quite a bit of success, but with the doubt of his glove ever coming around and the fact that the Yankees have money to spend with the best third base free agency class to ever hit the market, Andujar has found himself in the wrong place, at the wrong time. There is simply no spot on the roster for him and so a deal that would send him to the Pirates to return someone like Josh Harrison and Gerrit Cole is totally worth it. The Yankees get a super utility guy and a pitcher with a high ceiling and the Pirates get an outfielder that is a 5 tool player and has the potential to be a star, and they get a third baseman who almost undoubtedly will abuse major league pitching at the ripe age of 22 years old.

This is where this deal becomes a bit complex. It is also being reported that for the deal to happen that the Pirates would also need Chance Adams in return for the all-star package. Adams has shot up through the Yankee system after being drafted in the fifth round in the 2015 MLB draft as a reliever. The Yankees felt that he profiled better as a starter than he did out of the bullpen, and boy were they right. Adams put on a show allowing just 35 hits over 69.2 innings pitched in AA in 2016 while striking out a batter per inning and allowing just 24 free passes giving him a WHIP of 0.85.

At this point in the trade it begins to feel like you’re over paying for the package from the Pirates. Frazier and Andujar are a pair of the best prospects in a loaded Yankee farm system, but to give up another top prospect one has to wonder if it would be better to hold onto your farm guys and just address your needs in the star studded free agency class of 2018-2019. The Pirates will be motivated sellers though which makes it likely that the asking price for this package can be brought down a bit.

One last aspect of this trade is that the Yankees are looking to shed one of their bullpen contracts which may very well be a part of this deal, so look out Yankee bullpen members (yes, we are looking at you Adam Warren, Dellin Betances, and David Robertson) I predict that by the seasons start the Yankees will have eliminated one of those three bullpen pitchers and Jacoby Ellsbury from the roster.

The only question that remains in regards to shedding a bullpen pitcher is why you want to weaken your strongest asset. The Yankees loaded bullpen was a path for them to win many games last year and being able to turn to a star cast of Tommy Khanle, Aroldis Chapman, David Robertson, Chad Green, Adam Warren, and Dellin Betances is pretty tempting. Of the bullpen arms that the Yankees could shed it would be most likely that they would trade Betances who has the most upside, but also has lacked consistency as a Yankee and not pitched well down the stretch at any point in his career.

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The Yankees are probably looking forward to a season where they could use a few of their power arms they have in their farm system as relievers. One would figure that Domingo Acevedo could be a strong candidate to go north with the team because of his over powering fastball and sharp breaking pitches. This would free up a couple extra million dollars and provide a path to the bigs for other pitchers that are waiting for their opportunity.

At the end of the day the trade would look like this, if it went through right now

Pirates Get:

Chance Adams, Miguel Andujar, Clint Frazier, one of the following bullpen pitchers Dellin Betances/Adam Warren/David Robertson

Yankees Get:

Gerrit Cole, Josh Harrison

It would behoove the Yankees not to take the opportunity to add both of these players to their roster at the right price, but from looking at the price that the Yankees would have pay currently, the Yankees would need to either be able to move either Chance Adams, or Andujar out of the deal and replace them with a lower tier prospect and possibly gain back some extra international bonus pool money in the deal.

Should this deal really begin to take shape and gain traction don’t be surprised to see a third team jump in and work a deal out for the bullpen pitcher, this could potentially give the Pirates the little extra they need to save a little more of that Yankee farm system while still being able to pull back Gerrit Cole and Josh Harrison.

The deal makes sense and if it went through it wouldn’t entirely be one sided either direction, but if the Yankees continue to wait on the Pirates one would figure that the asking price would get down to where the Yankees felt comfortable to pull the trigger on the deal.

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Who Will Be The Yankees Opening Day Third Baseman?

As we draw closer to the new year the Yankees have been busy making moves this off season. They shocked the baseball world by trading for Giancarlo Stanton and then just one day later caught Yankee fans off guard by trading their starting third baseman and back up first baseman, Chase Headley. This has left the Yankees with two open positions for the 2018 season. Assuming that Gleyber Torres will in fact take over the duties at second base this season then that means the Yankees are still short a third baseman. Below we will go over the potential candidates.

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1) Todd Frazier – Here is your most likely option. Todd Frazier was a part of the Yankee playoff run last year and was well loved by team mates and players combined. Over 66 regular season games last year Frazier batted .222 with 11 dingers and 32 runs batted in. Perhaps the most un-noticed part of his game with the Yankees in 2017 was his ability to reach base. The Todd Father put together a remarkable .365 on-base-percentage which is higher than any year he has ever had (consider though this was only a 66 game sample) but beyond that his total on-base-percentage for 2017 was .344 which was his highest OBP for a full season, ever.

There was a rumor started on Saturday that the Yankees and Frazier were close to a deal; however, a deal would probably include obstacles because you can be sure that Frazier is hesitant to sign a one year deal with a 2018 free agency class that stars Machado, Donaldson, and Beltre to just name a few. In turn the Yankees are not likely to offer anything more than a year so they can take a shot at signing Machado as a free agent in 2018-2019.

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2) Miguel Andujar – Let the kid play! There will undoubtedly be a lot of people clambering for Andujar to get the job this spring. The 22 year old rookie burst onto the scene by going 3 for 4 in his major league debut with a double, walk and four runs batted in. The Yankees are understandably very high on Andujar, but even with his .571 average in the majors over 7 at bats the Yankees view his glove as a big liability still. When comparing Andujar to other players who reminds you somewhat of a younger Eduardo Nunez. Ah, yes the memories of being on the edge of your seat anytime a ball was hit Nunez’s way, or the lump you would get in your throat when he would cock his arm back and unload a missile into the first base suites at Yankee Stadium, those were the days, just kidding!

Andujar will have to improve dramatically with his glove if he wants a fair shot at the third base job for 2018, and for that reason it’s unlikely that he will go north to begin the 2018 season, especially considering that his glove will probably be enough to make the Yankees sign a one year insurance policy. There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that Andujar will hit in the majors, he’s been doing it his whole life! In 2017 Andujar batted .315 between double and triple A and hit with respectable power by going deep 16 times, knocking in 82 runs, and doubling 36 times. If the Yankees feel that no one year deal is suitable and the trade market doesn’t show any promise, then Andujar will most likely be your starting third baseman.

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3- Manny Machado – We can dream can’t we? I mean just imagine a line up where you have to get through a meat of the order consisting of Stanton, Judge, Sanchez, and Machado. That’s pretty scary considering I didn’t even mention Didi or Greg Bird. There is a good chance that Machado will be a Yankee at some point even if it’s not for the 2018 season. The Orioles have dangled the right handed slugger in the trade market and have been asking for offers. The Orioles will be crazy not to trade him because there is no way they will be able to match any offer that LA, or New York is going to throw his way. The Yankees moving Chase Headley and Starlin Castro further proves the point that the Yankees are serious about Machado being their future at third base.

To start the season with the Yankees, the Orioles would have to cave to the Yankees offer and be okay with trading him within in the division (which why wouldn’t you if that’s the best deal for your club? You already know the Yankees have the money to make the deal happen at the end of the year, so are you okay with delaying the inevitable and stunting your teams growth by not accepting the best package? And that is even if the Yankees had the best offer, but that’s a different topic for a different day) but if the Yankees can indeed Machado for their price consider it done. The Yankees love Machado, and why wouldn’t you? He’s a perennial all-star, and gold glove award winner, but don’t expect the new aged Yankees to just get caught up in the hype of adding a big name for an overwhelming contact if they feel the production isn’t there. It would surprise some people to know that Machado has never had a 100 RBI season, or a 40 home run season and he has played on a team with some really good line ups. While Machado to the Yankees makes sense if they don’t feel comfortable signing him to his 10 year 300-350 million dollar mega deal in the off-season then there is no chance you see him in pinstripes for 2018.

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4- Mike Moustakas – Earlier yesterday Buster Olney reported that some experts have suggested that Moustakas and the Yankees make a perfect one year fit. Some people questions why Moustakas would even consider a one year deal after his exceptional season that saw him bat .272 with 38 home runs and 85 runs batted in. The fact remains that Moustakas’ market has moved much slower than anticipated. He was projected to get a contract in the range of 5 years/85 million, but with each passing day it seems like his stock continues to fall, and unjustly. Olney suggests that Moustakas could accept a one year deal from the Yankees to increase his value. Moose is among the league leaders in fly ball percentage, and pull percentage. That could mean big things for abusing the right field porch at Yankee Stadium. Moustakas would get a chance to chase a ring, and put up video game numbers all while increasing his value, and if he had a great season he would find himself in a prime position in the 2018 draft class even with Machado, Donaldson, and Beltre in it though Machado would cover the headlines in 2018, Moustakas could have arguably the best numbers out of all of the players with the short right field porch.

He could further increase his stock by not only putting together a monster season, but helping the Yankees win a Championship, and if the Yankees thought he was a better value than Machado, he could even find himself with a long term deal in the Bronx. The idea of adding Moustakas on a one year deal is probably much more likely than the Yankees spending prized prospects on a player that is one year away from being a free agent. The problem of Moustakas also being tied to draft pick compensation is another potential hurdle, with the new compensation rules the Yankees would lose their second, and fifth highest picks in the upcoming draft as well as $1,000,000 in international bonus money so the Yankees would have to ask themselves how much they wanted Moustakas in 2018. Do they think he is the thing that would push them to a World Series in 2018? If so, then the Yankees should do it. They currently have a really strong farm system and a lot of international pool money at their disposal. The Yankees are always win first at all costs, so if Moustakas is open to a one year deal don’t expect the Yankees to sit idle fearing what they would be losing.

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5- Eduardo Nunez – Queue the Michael Kay “Oh No” audio on your soundboard. Let’s take a trip down memory lane of Nunez’s defensive gaffe’s in his 4 seasons with the Yankes…. okay, that’s enough. Eduardo Nunez has made our list in part for his versatility in the field along with relatively cheap cost that would be appealing to the Yankees. Nunez and Torres could rotate positions and give Didi days off as well. The 30-year-old who has been out of the Yankee organization now for 3, going on 4 years had a really strong 2017 that saw him bat .313 with 12 homers and 58 runs batted in, in just 114 games. Nunez split time between the Giants and the Red Sox this season and performed well in his role with both teams.

Nunez was projected by MLB Trade Rumors to get a deal somewhere near 2 years and 14 million; however, as we previously noted with Moustakas the third base market has been cold this off season and that could open the door to Nunez teaming back up with the Yankees in 2017. Due to his versatility in the field the Yankees could use an infield of Nunez, Torres, and still have Andujar on the roster to split time between third and at DH. Nunez also isn’t protected by a qualifying offer and therefore would not cost the Yankees any draft picks, or international pool money which is definitely appealing; however, the only way that this deal gets done is if Nunez would be open to a potential one year deal with a club option, and even if he was the Yankees may still prefer Moustakas over him if they are able to grab Moustakas on a one year deal.

Nunez definitely makes sense though because the Yankees love guys who are able to play multiple positions and give them a variety of options to get them in the line up. Even though Nunez is able to play multiple positions, does that really mean he can play multiple positions? No, in fact he is so bad defensively that he may be considered the worst defender of all time, seriously! In 600 innings at shortstop with the Yankees, Nunez somehow cost the Yankees more runs than any shortstop ever in reality. He was on pace to cost the Yankees FORTY runs in 1,000 innings at short stop. To give you an idea of how many runs that really is, Jeter, who was not considered “a great fielder” only cost the Yankees 15 runs per 1,000 innings. That means that Nunez gave away almost three times as many runs as Jeter did in the field. The worst season at short stop ever, outside of Nunez’s 2013 season was Michael Young who cost his team 20.4 runs over a 1,000 inning span in 2005. That means that not only was Nunez the worst defensive short stop, he was worse by a wide margin. In fact, on plays that are considered “non-routine” plays that are less than 90% chance of being made Nunez only converted 15% of those plays compared to the league average of nearly 50% so even though Nunez makes sense offensively, and with the payroll it wouldn’t make much sense to slide Nunez in ahead of Andujar at this point.

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6- Josh Harrison – Perhaps the most interesting player on our list. The Yankees could target Pirates utility player Josh Harrison. Harrison has one year left on his contract before he can be bought out of his contract for 1 million (though that probably wouldn’t make sense since Harrison plays above his 10 million dollar annual salary. He batted .272 with 16 home runs and 47 runs batted in while being able to play almost every position outside of catcher, and center field. He would provide the Yankees with a gritty, win now attitude and veteran presence that they would be looking for. His contact is also very manageable and could fit into the Yankees plans with his defensive versatility. This is pure speculation, but with the Pirates interested in moving Cole the Yankees may be able to make the move and throw Harrison in the deal along with them. Harrison would provide versatility while allowing Andujar, and Torres time to develop.

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7- Alex Rodriguez – Got ya! Just kidding. We are fairly certain that Alex Rodriguez doesn’t fit into the Yankees plans for 2018…. we hope.

So with that being said who is the most likely candidate to get the job in 2018? With Frazier looking like he will most likely be looking for a one year deal and the fact that he was so well received in New York in 2017 he is our pick as the most likely option to start the season as the Yankees starting third baseman. What’re your thoughts? Who would you like to see start the season at third this year?

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Yankees Still Pursuing Another Starter

According to reports by Buster Olney and Andrew Marchand the Yankees may be content with just sticking with the staff they have; however, don’t be surprised if the Yankees don’t add yet another starter by the end of the off season. Buster Olney was quoted as saying that the Yankees are digging into scouting reports and background checks on Diamondbacks lefty, Patrick Corbin.

Corbin, 28 put together a decent season in 2017, but the key to his numbers are just how dominant he was during the second half of the season. The lefty posted a 3.26ERA over 14 starts and 88.1 innings for the second half of the season. Corbin burst onto the scene with his electric stuff in 2012 and put together back-to-back strong seasons in 2013 and 2014. With the Diamondbacks now being motivated sellers the Yankees may be looking to grab a rental to bolster their starting staff since Corbin will be a free agent at the end of the year.

Another potential scenario for this trade is if the Yankees believe they can straighten him out and move him at some point during the season for more than they got him for. Cashman has been notorious for grabbing players at a cheap price and flipping them for a lot more than they paid (i.e. Chapman for Eric Jagielo in company) at worst Corbin adds another arm to the depth chart for the Yankees who are not very deep in the major league ready starting pitching category, so he could serve as a sixth man and give the Yankees some flexibility with any potential injuries.

The Yankees have been aggressive all off-season long and you can only assume that, that means they still have some moves left to make. If the Yankees feel that they can get solid production from Corbin at a reasonable price then one would imagine that a move in the very near future is imminent.

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OLNEY: Yankees, Moustakas Perfect One Year Match

Earlier today Buster Olney tweeted that while this is purely speculation some scouts and executives have said the Yankees and Moustakas could potentially look at a one year deal. Moustakas would be looking to re-establish his value on a one year deal to get a more lucrative deal somewhere else in 2018.

Moustakas batted .272 with 38 home runs and 85 runs batted in. The Yankees would be the perfect place for him to improve his free agency stock for next season by being able to feast on the right field porch. He was fourteenth among all hitters in fly ball percentage and 40th on pulling the ball. Moustakas could prove his worth on the big stage with the Yankees and collect a bigger pay day in 2018 if successful. The Yankees in turn would get a really good third baseman that is much needed for the upcoming season. Not to mention Moustakas would be in a line up with protection all around him in the line up so he would get better pitches to hit. The Yankees were also quoted by Jon Heyman as saying they “love” Moustakas in 2017.

Again, this is purely speculation at this point, but Buster Olney has indicated that with the Moustakas market being so dry at the moment the Yankees could be a perfect suitor for him on a one year deal. He wouldn’t stunt the farm system growth, or interfere with a Yankee free agency run at Orioles all star third baseman, Manny Machado. Whether or not this happens remains to be seen, but adding Moustakas to an already potent line up is something to be excited about.

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This Scenario Could Send Ellsbury And His Contract To The Mets

Earlier today Jon Heyman broke the news on Twitter that Marlins catcher, JT Realmuto is looking to get out of Miami and has requested a trade. Realmuto is the perfect fit for the Mets, he has three years of player control left, and addresses their vulnerability behind the plate, but they simply don’t have the pieces to get a deal done for the 26 year old catcher.

There is another issue that the Mets will face again in 2018 and that is their lack of production in the outfield and their lack of future outfield depth as well. This is where you can enter the Yankees. If the Yankees were to get involved in a three way trade to send Realmuto to Queens would the Mets be willing to take on Jacoby Ellsbury and his contract? While Ellsbury hasn’t lived up to his contract he is a very serviceable veteran outfielder who batted .263 with 7 long balls and 39 runs batted in, while still maintaining a .348 on base percentage which was his best since his final season at Fenway. Oh, and don’t forget he stole 22 bases and still has a pretty decent glove.

Depending on the degree in which the Yankees were involved in the trade the Yankees could also ask for one of their starters in return if the Yankees felt the salary relief wasn’t enough in the trade. The Yankees have plenty of outfield depth and if they lack in anything its major league proven pitching options and this could be a driving force into why this trade would make sense for both teams. The Mets could off set this trade by reasoning the payroll that is added is essentially split between Realmuto and Ellsbury which helps them compete now and the Yankees are able to get rid of Ellsbury’s albatross of a contract and frees up their payroll for the star studded 2018 draft class while potentially even adding some major league ready pitching, and opening up freedom for Yankee prospects in the outfield since they won’t be stuck behind Ellsbury. Miami is known to like recent Yankee addition Jabari Blash and while it would take a lot more than that to secure Realmuto, Blash is obviously a piece that the fish would like to have.

The final hurdle of this trade would be if Ellsbury would in fact accept the trade to the Mets. One big factor is that his life style wouldn’t change much since he would still be in New York and would be playing almost everyday instead of being buried on the bench behind Yankee prospects. There is a handful of trade opportunities that are win-wins for everyone, but this trade not only addresses the Mets lack of production in the outfield and behind the plate. It also provides the Yankees with much needed salary relief to stay under the 197 million dollar luxury tax threshold and gives them wiggle room to sign another piece in 2018.

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REPORT: Yankees And Todd Frazier Close To Deal

As reported originally by Jim Leyritz who was the first person to break the Giancarlo Stanton news. The Yankees are close to resigning their third basemen to a one year deal with a player option for 2018. At the moment nothing is imminent and this news has not been reported by a major source to this point. We will keep you updated as this story progresses.

Sabathia Signing Saves Farm System, Puts Yankees In Position Of Power

Earlier today the Yankees were cornered into a position. Either give up key parts of you farm system for an average pitcher, or test your luck with a kid at the end of your rotation, a rotation lacking depth in the minors. The Yankees answered other teams by signing back C.C. Sabathia on a one year, 10 million dollar deal. For many this deal comes of somewhat of a surprise given Sabathia’s solid 2017 campaign that he would settle for a one year deal, but if you dig beyond the numbers you may find a silver lining.

Sabathia signed a 7 year 161 million dollar deal with the Yankees and he was certainly all what he was cracked up to be through 2012, but after 2012 Sabathia lost his velocity and it led to a disastrous 2013 campaign for Sabathia. He struggled all season long and could never find his former self and ended up posting a 4.78ERA. Many expected Sabathia to bounce back to form in 2014, but 2014 proved to be even more of a struggle. Sabathia finished the season with a 5.28ERA and would only pitch in 8 games as the former ace looked to be nothing short of a former shell of himself. The critics were out on Sabathia going into 2015 as he tried to adjust to a life without his power fastball, but he would find no success again in 2015 as he finished the year with a 4.73ERA while only winning 6 games and losing 10. To make his 2015 season even worse Sabathia missed the Yankees post season in 2015 when he shocked Baseball by checking himself into alcohol rehab.

By this point many Yankee fans were fed up with Sabathia and there were hopes that the Yankees would release, or trade off the rest of his contract. If you asked most fans in 2015 if Sabathia would return to the Yankees in 2018 the answer would have been a unanimous no.

The 2016 season was a big year for Sabathia. After getting sober and coming off 3 years that we’re embarrassing. Sabathia was determined to make the 2016 season different. Sabathia got help from the former Yankee great, Andy Pettitte, Sabathia would find a cutter that kept batters honest while improving his off speed offerings. Sabathia was learning how to pitch as opposed to how to throw. There is a big difference between having electric stuff and being able to throw it, and actually pitching. Pitchers entering the second half of their career have to adjust to no longer over powering people with a dominant fastball and sharp breaking pitches. Instead pitchers have to learn how to throw off a batters timing, and pitching to all parts of the plate moving the ball up and down, and in and out. Sabathia proved useful in 2016 posting a respectful 3.91ERA and was dominant at certain points in the season.

Sabathia’s 2017 season he proved why you can never count out a former cy young and a wiley ole’ vet. With the likes of Masahiro Tanaka, Luis Severino, Sonny Gray, and Jordan Montgomery on the staff, CC proved to possibly the most important piece of the staff. C.C. was a stopper going 10-0 in games following a Yankee loss, going 14-5 with a 3.61ERA and pitching in four elimination games in the post season including 2 winner take all games. He baffled Astro hitter’s in the ALCS holding them to just 1 run in 9.1 innings of baseball.

Throughout the second part of the contract the Yankees never wavered in their support for the big lefty. When C.C. was healthy, he pitched, every fifth day. No questions asked. In parts that probably gave Sabathia a sense of gratitude for the support the Yankees showed him throughout the turmoil he went through to rediscover himself as a pitcher. The Yankees now get a leader, grinder, and very strong pitcher to slide into the back side of their rotation. Sabathia also has to love the idea that he can get another shot at a ring with the moves the Yankees have made. He’s likely to follow the Andy Pettitte path at this point and continue to take one year deals until he has had enough.

This moves means the Yankees will most likely start with the same rotation they ended their season with last year. Throughout this off season Clint Frazier and Chance Adams were two names being thrown around in trade talks for starting pitchers who were not an upgrade over Sabathia. This signing has allowed the Yankees to hold onto their prospects while giving them another year to develop, but more importantly it puts the Yankees in a position of power when negotiating trades. Earlier this off season Yankees GM Brian Cashman and manager Aaron Boone both said it would be possible that the Yankees could bring in two arms this off season. Whether that happens remains to be seen, but the Yankees have given themselves leverage in trade discussions. Earlier today the Yankees were short a starter and other teams knew that, but the Yankees don’t have to make a deal for another starter at this point either which gives them the luxury of maximizing what they can get in return for their prospects if they decide to make a trade.

With this move the Yankees have sured up a rotation that had a question mark at the back end of it, saved their farm system and continued to let the likes of Adams, Sheffield, Acevedo, and others continue to develop and gives the Yankees a look at what they have before a loaded 2018-2019 free agency class hits. The Yankees do still lack major league starting pitching depth and finding another serviceable arm is something that is probably still on the Yankees radar as well as adding another infielder. The Yankee off season has been a major success and the signing of C.C. Sabathia has continued to fuel the fire of this off season solidifying the Yankees as a true World Series threat for 2018.

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