Today the New York Times’ Tyler Kepner brings us an article titled Retaining Sabathia should be Yankees’ top priority. I disagree with that sentiment.

When the Yankees signed CC Sabathia to a 7-year, $161 million contract before the 2009 season, they took a big risk. Pitchers are a crap shoot. All of them. Some more than others. At the time, Sabathia was a 300+ pound pitcher coming off a pennant race where he logged a crazy number of innings. He threw 235 innings in 2008, and pitched on short rest down the stretch.

But signing Sabathia worked! The Yankees got three outstanding seasons from their ace. Now they should quit while they’re ahead.

It’s not like there aren’t younger options available. Japanese sensation Yu Darvish is only 25! And C.J. Wilson, while only a year younger than Sabathia, has much less mileage on his arm thanks to the years he spent in Texas’ bullpen. The Yankees could sign both of these pitchers and look forward to a relatively young and very talented rotation in 2012 and beyond.

I’m not anti-gambling. I know you have to bet big to win big. But I’m the kind of guy who leaves his ATM card in the car when he goes to a casino. And when I get to the gambling floor, I stick with the blackjack tables, because that’s where my odds of winning are the greatest.

ESPN’s Johnette Howard thinks Sabathia could be another A-Rod — another player signed for what he was, rather than what he will be. I agree.

Signing a pitcher to a longterm contract is always a gamble. When the Yankees signed Sabathia in 2009, they rolled the dice. If they sign him again this winter, they’ll be pushing their luck.

6 Responses to “The Yankees should let Sabathia sign elsewhere”

  1. Tanned Tom says:

    I agree, it might be time to let the fat boy see who else (if anyone) will beat the contract he has now. Further, I’d like to see a rebuilding era: let Posada retire or play elsewhere (even though he was one of the best hitters in ALDS); move A-Rod to part-time 3B and part-time DH (he’s too fragile, and his contract goes on too long to let him get banged up again) and phase in Laird or even Montero (some catchers make pretty decent 3Bers – see Joe Torre); do not re-sign Swisher (always a no-show in the postseason), move Gardner to right, and move Jeter to left (has to be done sometime), with Nunez taking over at SS. If he opts out, say goodbye to Sabathia (maybe boost his salary a bit, but no way go past age 35 with such a fat player); trade Burnett if at all possible (no explanation really necessary here) even if it means paying 50% of his salary; pray that Soriano opts out, then let him leave; DO NOT re-sign Marte (always injured), Chavez (ditto), Jones (let’s get younger), Garcia (give this spot to a player who might actually be around in 3 years), Colon (39 years old + 50 lbs. overweight= goodbye), or Mitre (one of life’s inexplicable mysteries is why they keep bringing this dud back). This would bring the payroll to about $138 million, leaving $40 mil to spend on free agents and still keep below the luxury tax threshold.
    Everyday players:
    LF Jeter
    CF Granderson
    RF Gardner
    3B Rodriguez/Laird/Montero
    SS Nunez
    2B Cano
    1B Teixeira
    C Martin/Montero/Romine

    CJ Wilson
    Hughes (one more chance)
    Zambrano (the price to pay to be rid of Burnett)
    Noesi (next in line)

    Fill every other spot on the roster with players under 30, with the exception of Mo, of course.

    • Tanned Tom says:

      Oh, and DH: Rodriguez/Montero/days off for productive hitters.

    • John from the 11th Ward says:

      Hey, here’s another idea concerning the Yankees. Get a life. They are not the invincible “Greatest Team on the Face of the Earth.” There are a lot of players and teams who are better than the billionaires of the Bronx. The contributors here ignore the fact that the days of the Yankees being served by all other teams as their “minor leagues” or taxi squads are long over. Since the early 1960’s there have been many great players for whom the opportunity to play baseball in New York is not the next best thing to eternal happiness in heaven. Get a life, New Yawkuhs. Look at the crappy teams in your city and realize that you ain’t everyone’s dream no more.

      • Tanned Tom says:

        Dude, don’t mix your meds with alcohol, you know they warned you about that. Seriously, you have your team, and I have mine. Do you see me posting these politics of resentment type comments on the blogs of your team? I don’t even know your team, but your post reeks of envy and bitterness, so I can damn well guess.

  2. tom..been a yankee fan since the 50s and i could not agree more with what you say except for a few exceptions…forget zambrano …bring in betances and let him learn as the number 4 starter and bring in banuelos and do the same..other clubs such as tampa and the rangers and the giants have done this and it has worked and move hughes from the rotation to the bullpen..he can function there and not kill his arm …they should let sabathia walk considering he stunk it up in the playoffs ..watching carpenter and halliday pitch tonight was a true definition of an ace…

    • Tanned Tom says:

      Steve, I’m with you about Betances and Banuelos, and I don’t want Zambrano, only if he’s the price for being rid of Burnett. 1 year less, $15 mil less, and a better pitcher anyway. But then Burn-it probably is the better teammate.
      And yes, if the kids are ready, move Hughes back to the pen. The club has always prized him above Kennedy or Chamberlain, without much to show for it. We’ve seen Kennedy excel in Arizona, and Joba pitched pretty well this year on nothing but guts.
      Another thought is maybe renew Swisher and then trade him and Hughes as a package to pick up a good, young pitcher. The Giants, Padres, Mariners all have such pitchers and are dying for offense.

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