Even though NY Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia missed the required 155 pitched innings to earn an extra $500,000, the team awarded him the bonus anyway.
During the final week of the 2018 regular season, Sabathia was ejected from a game against the Tampa Bay Rays because he stood up for one of his teammates with an old-school form of retaliation. With his 55th pitch of the game, Sabathia plunked Jesus Sucre, which drew an automatic ejection from the home plate umpire. Sabathia was two innings shy of the 155-inning mark required for the bonus, but he cared more about his teammates than a huge check.
“I don’t really make decisions based on money, I guess,” said Sabathia. “I felt like it was the right thing to do.”
Eye for an Eye
During the September 27 match up, the Bronx Bombers were beating the Rays 11-0 at the start of the bottom of the fifth inning. Sabathia took umbrage that the Rays threw at Austin Romaine’s head the previous inning. He did not think twice and plunked Sucre on the first pitch. He turned to the Rays dugout and barked, “That’s for you bitch!”
With the ejection, he finished the season with 153 innings and missed his $500,000 bonus by a mere two innings.
Ever since Derek Jeter retired, Sabathia has become the unofficial captain of the Yankees. Sabathia, a crafty lefty with a clear path to Cooperstown, joined the Yankees in 2009. He won one World Series in pinstripes in 2009. The 18-year veteran is the emotional leader of the Yankees on the field and in the clubhouse.
Teammates and fans alike love Sabathia for his loyalty. Doesn’t matter if it is the star like Aaron Judge or a backup catcher like Austin Romine, he always stick up for his teammates.
Unfortunately for Sabathia, the old-school form of justice drew an immediate ejection and it cost him a bonus.
“CC felt it was more important to send a message after they threw behind the head of Romine,” said announcer John Kaye. “He was going to plunk their catcher. And he did. He got thrown out of the game. He backs up his teammates at a very costly personal price.”
“CC could care less,” said ex-Yankees pitcher David Cone. “That’s CC in a nutshell right here.”
“That’s the kind of guy you want to go to battle with,” said teammate Aaron Judge.
Payback for Payback
In the last week, the Yankees paid out Sabathia his $500,000 bonus even though he missed the mark. Neither the Yankees, nor Sabathia made the bonus news public.
“We thought it was a very nice gesture by the Yankees,” said Sabathia’s agent Kyle Thousand. “CC was very appreciative and is really excited to come back next year and, hopefully, win a championship.”
According to general manager Brian Cashman, “It was something that we did very private and weren’t looking to publicize, and I’ll just leave it at that.”
At the time of the ejection, it was the consensus in the Bronx that Sabathia might be pitching in his final season.
CC: By the Numbers
Real Name: Carsten Charles Sabathia, Jr.
Awards: 2007 CY Young Winner, 2009 ALCS MVP
During the offseason, the Yankees signed Sabathia to a single-year deal worth $8 million. Sabathia announced that the 2019 season would be his 19th and final season as a professional.