For all that went wrong this season for the New York Yankees perhaps the greatest concern is the year ace C.C. Sabathia had this season. He was recently shut down for the remainder of the season with a Grade 2 hamstring strain but struggled all season with his consistency. Sabathia finished the season with career worst in ERA (4.78), WHIP (1.37), H/9 (9.6), HR/9 (1.2) and earned runs (112). The Yankees still owe Sabathia $71 million guaranteed over the next three seasons with another $25 million owed for 2017. You can see why the Yankees are a little concerned about Sabathia’s performance this year.
The good news is Sabathia can be fixed. Most of the season it looked like Sabathia was having trouble with his changeup. Without his changeup he had nothing to keep hitters off balance. It could be a mechanical issue or Sabathia trying to recover from having bone chips removed from his elbow in the off-season.
Despite all of the injuries to the Yankees’ offense the Yankee pitching staff kept the Yankees in most games, even with Sabathia struggling all season long. Had Sabathia been his normal self the Yankees might have made the playoffs despite the injuries to the offense.
Now, with Andy Pettitte retiring, Hiroki Kuroda a free agent and Phil Hughes certainly gone the Yankee rotation is down to two pitchers, Sabathia and Ivan Nova who will definitely be in the rotation next season. If Kuroda leaves or retires, the Yankees will have Vidal Nuno, Michael Pineda, David Phelps, Adam Warren and Brett Marshall battling it out for the remaining three spots. Hardly ideal but a healthy and effective Sabathia could make a huge difference.
The Yankees have to hope that this season was a fluke and that Sabathia will turn it around next season. He seems determined to do so and there is no reason to think he won’t. Getting the old Sabathia back could make a potentially difficult off-season much more palatable. It would be like adding a new arm to the rotation. Success for the 2014 Yankees begins with Sabathia’s left arm.