Friday, October 16, 2015

What if CC Sabathia Retires before 2016?

One of the biggest unknowns heading into the winter before the 2016 season and for the entire 2016 season will not be Carlos Beltran or Alex Rodriguez, it will be CC Sabathia. Sabathia’s 2015 season ended with him checking himself into an alcohol rehabilitation center in the midst of his battle with alcoholism while the left-hander spent another partial season on the disabled list with knee concerns. Sabathia has had trouble with his right surgically repaired knee for three consecutive seasons now and isn’t getting any younger, what would the Yankees do if the southpaw decided to just hang up his spikes and his rosin bag before 2016?

If Sabathia was to retire that would drop the potential list of Yankees starters from eight to seven leaving just Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda, Luis Severino, Adam Warren, Bryan Mitchell, Ivan Nova and Nathan Eovaldi realistically vying for rotation spots. Theoretically Rookie Davis, Brady Lail and anyone acquired via free agency or in a trade could also make their way to the front of the line but that’s the core as it stands today, October 16th.

I don’t think a Sabathia retirement would lead the team to dip into the free agency pool. Sabathia’s departure would not bring a David Price, a Jordan Zimmerman or a Johnny Cueto. It may bring Warren to the rotation and Davis to the bullpen but that’s about the extent of it. Sabathia is not relied upon as an ace or a stopper anymore and as much as I hate to say it, because I like his leadership, his guts and his fire, he is possibly the most replaceable starter in the Yankees rotation.

I admittedly do not know how the whole contract language in the collective bargaining agreement works so I am unclear how his remaining contract and vesting option would play out if he was to retire. The vesting option triggers if Sabathia does not end the 2016 season on the disabled list with left shoulder injuries or concerns. If Sabathia retires would he technically not end the season on the DL or would he surrender any option years? That’s for Hal Steinbrenner, the MLB Players Association and for a room for a lawyers to figure out. If someone knows for sure please leave a comment in the comments section because I am not 100% sure either way. 

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