Browsing Posts tagged CC Sabathia

After years of scouting and months of speculation, the Yankees got their man and signed Masahiro Tanaka to a lucrative seven-year, $155 million contract. The Yankees will also pay Tanaka’s JPL team $20 million as a posting fee. I’ve modeled out a bunch of scenarios and his contract fell between my guess of six-years, $149 million and seven-years, $163 million. In my analysis, I did not quantify the value of an opt-out, which may have the tipping point in contract negotiations. Lost in the hoopla of the contract length and size is a clause that allows Tanaka to opt out after his fourth season and test free agency again at Age 29. As we’ve seen with other young aces, teams are more willing to include an opt-out clause in order to secure their services. We’ll walk through past contracts and review whether the Yankees were smart to include this incentive.

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There’s no denying that the Yankees need to add impact starting pitching. The 2014 Yankee rotation will be led by Hiroki Kuroda, CC Sabathia, and Ivan Nova, which isn’t enough to withstand the grind of a 162 game season. To fill out their rotation, the Yankees could turn to either the free agent market or pick from uninspiring internal options. The Yankees are obviously interested in Japanese RHP Masahiro Tanaka, who may or may not be posted by the Rakuten Golden Eagles of the Nippon Professional Baseball league. Changes in the posting system, namely capping the maximum posting bid at $20 million, have made Rakuten rethink posting Tanaka. In fact, Rakuten has made Tanaka a generous contract offer in hopes of keeping its ace. 

Given the uncertainty surrounding Tanaka’s posting status, this year’s free agent starting pitching market hasn’t taken shape. This year’s ‘Top’ remaining free agent pitching options include Ervin Santana, Matt Garza, Ubaldo Jimenez, AJ Burnett, and Bronson Arroyo. All five of these pitchers have obvious blemishes and would not provide more than a middling middle of the rotation option. Next year, however, potentially presents one of the best free agent classes in recent memory. Of note, Cy Young Award winners Clayton Kershaw and Max Scherzer could hit the open market. Established AL East options should as Jon Lester, Justin Masterson, Jake Peavy, and James Shields will be available. Finally, a few decent options from the NL Central, Homer Bailey, Johnny Cueto, and Yovani Gallardo will also be available. 

In Part I of this article, we’ll breakdown each of the available 2014 free agent options to see whether or not they’re a fit for the Yankees. Part II will address the 2015 free agent class. More after the jump..

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The New York Yankees (70-63) will look to get back to their winning ways as they take on the Baltimore Orioles (71-61). The Yankees will send their ace, CC Sabatha (11-11, 4.81 ERA), to the hill. It’s been a rough season for Sabathia. The big left hander is starting to lose some velocity and must figure out different ways to register outs. Over his last ten starts, Sabathia has allowed at least two earned runs. Sabathia’s control hasn’t been great either, walking 13 batters over his last three starts. Over the last few years, Sabathia has enjoyed a fair amount of success against the Orioles, but has struggled recently. Sabathia is 1-1 with a 3.80 ERA in three starts this year.

The Orioles will counter with RHP Miguel Gonzalez (8-6, 3.77 ERA). Gonzalez has worked out of the bullpen recently, but will be asked to spot start. Gonzalez has come up winless in three starts against the Yankees. However, Gonzalez has held the potent Yankee offense to just five earned runs over 19 innings. He’ll look to build on that success against a Yankee team that had trouble scoring runs in Toronto.

Pick: The over/under is set at 8.5, so we like the over. CC has struggled recently and the Yankee hit much better at home against right handed starters. 

It’s been a difficult offseason for Yankee fans. Derek Jeter broke his ankle, but should return for Spring Training. Alex Rodriguez, who is undergoing hip surgery, will miss at least half of 2013. Nick Swisher, Russell Martin, Raul Ibanez, Eric Chavez, and Andruw Jones, who combined to hit 94 home runs, signed elsewhere. Rafael Soriano, who saved 42 games, is also expected to sign elsewhere. For better or worse, the Yankees were not linked to any top free agents. The Yankee brass is committed to spending less than baseball’s $189 million luxury tax threshold by 2014, so free agent spending sprees are off the table.

Brian Cashman always emphasizes the importance of keeping his ‘core’ together, so four key pieces were re-signed to team friendly deals. Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte, and Hiroki Kuroda signed one-year deals while Ichrio Suzuki signed a two-year deal. These deals should help the Yankees win in 2013, but each player is over 40-years-old and adds little value to the future of the team.

The Yankees are one of the oldest teams in baseball, but still boast some of the game’s best players. Jeter and Ichiro will set the table for Robinson Cano, Mark Teixeira, and Curtis Granderson. CC Sabathia will be supported by Kuroda, Pettitte, and Phil Hughes in the starting rotation. Mariano Rivera and David Robertson will lock down the backend of the bullpen. This core won 95 games last season, so anything less will be a failure.

While the Yankees boast a strong core, many are questioning their complementary parts. As of today, the Yankees have not named a starting catcher or designated hitter. Cashman will not sign a free agent catcher, so expect a combination of Francisco Cervelli-Chris Stewart-Austin Romine to start. Kevin Youkilis will start at third base, but he was signed as A-Rod’s caddy. The Yankees will need Youkilis to play third base and DH, but he can’t seem to stay healthy. If Youkilis suffers another injury, will the team trust Eduardo Nunez to play third base? Nunez is currently the de-facto designated hitter, but Cashman always extends multiple Spring Training invites. The Yankees have a glutton of left handed hitters in its outfield, so expect a right handed bat to join this threesome. Remember, Marcus Thames and Raul Ibanez were signed late and played significant roles. Expect similar moves.

Going into 2013, the Yankees have a very small margin for error. The roster is primarily comprised of older players that may break down. Each AL East foe improved its roster and many are expecting the Toronto Blue Jays to win the division. However, the Yankees boasted baseball’s best run differential and have a roster full of players that have endured October battles. The Yankees continue to pour resources into scouting and player development, but don’t count them out. In terms of player development and a more cost conscious approach, the 2013 season may prove to be a transition year. That doesn’t mean the Yankees are incapable of raising another AL East flag.

It took five games, but the Yankees were able to get the best of the Orioles. After watching Justin Verlander throw a gem last night, CC Sabathia delivered a gem of his own tonight. The big man was electric, dominating both sides of the plate while getting ahead of hitters with first-pitch strikes. CC is the definition of an ace and has earned every penny of his massive contract. 

The Yankees had their moments offensively, but Curtis Granderson’s seventh-inning home run sealed the deal. Granderson really, really struggled during the first four games of the series, but gave the Yankees a big boost when they needed it.

A few take-aways from the ALDS:

  • I was/still am 100 percent against benching A-Rod. He’s struggling and his at-bats are futile, but as we saw with Granderson, one swing can change everything. Baseball is all about confidence and I find it troubling that Girardi sat him. I don’t think A-Rod is hurt nor do I think he should be hitting third in the order. However, he plays great defense and can still get on base. One big swing may change his post-season, but that can only happen if he’s in the lineup. All four of Detriot’s pitchers are right-handed, but we can’t expect Girardi to start Chavez in each game. I hope/fully expect A-Rod to be in the starting lineup tomorrow night.
  • Yankee Starting Pitchers were dominant. Over the course of five games, the starters threw 38 innings and gave way to only nine earned runs! In addition, the Yankee bullpen was great and gave the offense additional innings to score run(s) (Cite: Mr. Ibanez)
  • Nick Swisher is terrible. I’m getting sick of Swisher. Fans love him because he’s a ‘happy-go-lucky’ type of guy, but this is the playoffs and he just sucks. Swisher was just 2-for-18 with five strikeouts. During his post-season career, Swisher is 23-for-139 (.165) which may be the worst batting average among players with 100+ at-bats. Since Gardner can’t swing a bat and Ibanez can’t run, Swisher is the de-facto starting right fielder. In the playoffs, it’s impossible to hide hitters, but I’ve learned to not expect anything from Swishalicious. In a month, he’ll be suiting up for Kenny’s New York Mets!
  • Will Joe add Andruw Jones? Given Swisher’s struggles and Joba’s injury, does Joe add Andruw Jones to his ALCS roster? Detriot’s starters are all right-handed and Jones has been futile against righties this season (.185/.293/.400). However, Swisher has been so bad that he has to at least consider it.
  • Still waiting for Soriano. Rafael Soriano didn’t have a big pressure-packed moment in the ALDS. Soriano’s counter-part, Jim Johnson was involved in almost every contest. Soriano was able to keep games tied, but did not have a pressure-packed save opportunity. With that being said, I’m sure Soriano will have that opportunity against the Tigers. We’ve seen closer after closer crumble in October, but we don’t know how Soriano will fare. Since Yankee fans are so used to ninth inning, post-season dominance, anything less will be a massive disappointment.
  • Congrats to the Orioles. No one expected anything from the O’s this season. However, they battled the Yankees for 23 games this season. The Yankees were able to get the better of them, but the future of the team is very, very bright.

Since both the Yankees and Tigers just used their aces, we’ll see #2 pitchers square off tomorrow night. Andy The Dandy vs. Doug Fister. Fortunately for the Yankees, a meeting with Justin Verlander won’t happen until Game 3. The downside? No CC until Game 4. Aces are wild, but these two will not meet unless there is a Game 7.

Yesterday, the Yankees decided to place CC Sabathia on the DL. Sabathia has been diagnosed with minor lower elbow soreness, so the Yankees didn’t want to take any changes. Sabathia and the Yankee brass apparently clashed with this decision, but ultimately, the Yankees know best and CC will have to sit down. Sabathia vows he will return on August 24th for his next start.

Ultimately, the Yankees made the right move by sitting the big man down. Sabathia is the team’s token to a deep post-season run and overuse in August isn’t worth it. Sabathia regularly logs 250+ innings per season, so injuries are expected to happen.

The Yankees head to the West Coast later this week to begin a four-game set in Oakland against the Athletics. No doubt it’ll be a tough series but New York’s excelling right now and should be a solid option with your free MLB picks.

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After beating the Red Sox 2-1 in a series to close out the first half, the Yankees head into the All-Star break with a 52-33 mark, the best in baseball. Whoever’s backing New York with their free MLB picks has been making bank.

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Who counted out the Bronx Bombers? Winners of nine consecutive games, the Yankees should be in everyone’s MLB picks.  There’s nothing quiet about the city of New York and now our baseball team is fulfilling its unbeatable potential. Nine straight games? You better believe it.

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When the Yankee bullpen is taxed, Joe Girardi knows that CC Sabathia has the ability to deliver lengthy, quality outings. In the rubber game of a three-game set against Tampa Bay, Big C just did that. Sabathia gave the Yanks eight innings of two run ball, striking out ten Rays, resulting in a 5-2 Yankee win. Sabathia threw 120 pitches and looked really dominant for the first time this season. Rafael Soriano closed it out, picking up his first save of the season. David Robertson wasn’t available as he threw the previous two nights. 

I didn’t write about David Roberston’s first blown save last night because in reality, it’s not a big deal. Robertson gave up his first earned run since last August (!!) and some growing pains are expected as he transitions to the ninth. I’m not here to make excuses for him, but Robertson threw 30 pitches the night before and will need time to get adjusted to the ninth inning. In addition, I tweeted a fun fact about one Yankee closer last night—

In 1997, Mariano Rivera blew two of his first four save opportunities as ‘The Man’

Despite initial struggles, Mariano hasn’t had that bad of a career (LOL). Lay off Roberston–he’ll be fine as the new Yankee closer. He has the best stuff in the bullpen and his strikeout rate is Craig Kimbrel, Kenley Jansen-esqe. 

Overall, I’ll take two out of three against Tampa Bay every time. This weekend, the Mariners will come in for three games. The Yankees will get to see their old pal, Felix Hernandez tomorrow night as well. Jesus Montero will make his 2012 Bronx debut in a Seattle Mariner uniform.