Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The 2014 CC Sabathia

According to Fangraphs, through 24 starts, Sabathia has only been worth $9.3 million. A rate of $387,500 per start. If you extrapolate that, and assume CC starts 34 games, then he would only be worth $13.175 million in 2013, far less than his $23 million salary.

Sort of like this.

The fact that he hasn't been worth his very large salary, which is the second highest in all of baseball (Johan Santana is first at $23,145,011), is not what bothers me. Well, it kind of does, but I'm not one to cry over spilled milk. The issue is that Sabathia has 4 years and $96 million remaining on his contract. That is, if you're including the vesting option for 2017, which depends on the health of his left/throwing shoulder in 2016.

As of today, CC's ERA is higher than it's ever been, his WHIP is at it's highest point since 2004, his hits per 9 innings is at a career high, as is his home run rate. Furthermore, opposing batters have hit .273 off of Sabathia, which is the highest he's ever given up. Want another? Okay... his walk rate is higher than it's been in the last 9 years.

Sorry to be a Debbie Downer.

It's safe to say that the Yankees' ace is having a pretty bad year. As much as that stinks, I'm more concerned about the next four years, when the team is hopefully in a position to make the postseason... and then some.

So what is going on that's turned Sabathia from a top of the rotation starter, to a bottom of the rotation starter?

One theory is that he's hiding an injury. Well, I've watched him all season, and I have yet to see him wince or do anything indicative of that. Not only has CC denied any injury, but pitching coach Larry Rothchild has said that "there are no signs of that [injury]."

Although CC's surgically repaired left elbow could still be bothering him, I wonder if his throwing motion has changed. Wallace Matthews reported in late February that CC said his throwing motion was different. I haven't seen anybody report on that motion not going back to normal, but even the smallest change could mess things up.

Like how going back in time and killing a mosquito could change everything. Although, why let the jerk live?

First of all, I want to say that I would never want to see somebody gain unhealthy weight. With that said, CC Sabathia came into this season having lost, according to the man himself, "20 pounds". The team was hoping that such weight loss would be better for their #1 pitcher, as being leaner and stronger more often than not is a good thing. However, this is what one talent evaluator had to say about it...
“The weight loss has created a balance problem for him. He’s all over the place. He’s learning how to pitch in that body, a body he’s really never had. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with him other than that. Sometimes you pitch at a certain weight all your life and then someone has the brilliant idea that you should lose weight because it’s putting stress on your knees, you do it, and then you’re dealing with something else.”-courtesy of Nick Cafardo, at the Boston Globe
That tells me that even though we can't see it, Sabathia's throwing motion has indeed changed.

No matter what the problem is, though, one thing is for sure... CC has to figure it out before the 2014 season begins. Otherwise, if he throws to a 4.00+ ERA in the first half of next year, like he did this one, then people are going to go after him like they go after Alex Rodriguez now. And I don't want to think about what fans will do if his second half ERA is 8.61 in mid-August, like it is at the moment.

One thing's for sure, 2014 is going to go a long way into whether or not Carsten Charles earns all the money he's made and will make.

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Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)