In a special press conference at the New York Yankees Spring Training facility in Tampa, six-time All-Star CC Sabathia officially announced that 2019 will be his last year as a professional baseball player.
Sabathia, 38, is left-handed pitcher with a 246-career wins. He won the Cy Young Award in 2007 and he’s only 14 strikeouts shy of 3,000.
CC will be playing in his 19th season as a pro and his 11th season in pinstripes with the New York Yankees. He signed with the Yankees in 2009 and won his only World Series that year.
WHO IS CC SABATHIA?
Born: July 21, 1980
Hometown: Vallejo, California
Drafted: First round 1998 MLB Draft
Teams: Indians, Brewers, Yankees
During the offseason, Sabathia signed a one-year deal worth $8 million. At the time, it was rumored to be his final season in the Bronx. He officially made the announcement at the start of Spring Training. His wife and three of his children were at the special press conference held over the weekend.
“All I’ve ever wanted to be was a good teammate,” said Sabathia.
CC, born as Carsten Charles Sabathia, Jr, was a standout athlete in Northern California. He played basketball, football, and baseball. As a star tight end, CC received football scholarships to UCLA and Hawaii. He turned those down to pursue a professional baseball career.
The Indians drafted him with the 20th overall pick in the 1998 MLB draft. CC was only 20 years old when he made his major league debut for the Indians at the start of the 2001 season. He finished second overall in the AL Rookie of the Year race behind Ichiro Suzuki.
CC made three All-Star squads with the Indians and racked up 100 wins a couple of months after his 27th birthday. He won the Cy Young in 2007 with a 19-7 record and 3.21 ERA.
He briefly played with the Milwaukee Brewers in 2008. The Indians knew he was going to walk when his contract was up, so they traded him to the Brewers. Sabathia anchored the staff in the second half of the 2008 season. He led the Brewers to a Wild Card berth.
OG Sabathia Prediction
Sabathia’s father, Carsten, Sr., predicted that his son would sign with the Yankees one day.
“He always told me I’d play for the Yankees,” said Sabathia. “When I was in Cleveland, I’d be like, ‘No, no chance. I’m going to be an Indian my whole career.’ He always said, ‘When you’re a free agent, the Yankees are going to come get you, and you’re going to win a World Series with the Yankees.'”
The Yankees signed Sabathia in 2009. He won the World Series in his first year in the Bronx. Even though his father passed away in 2003 and never saw him win the championship, Sabathia’s father’s prophecy came true.
In the 2017 season, Sabathia earned $25 million during the final year of his contract. He took a pay cut to return for the 2018 season and only earned $10 million, plus incentives.
One of those incentives was an innings-based bonus. He needed 155 innings to earn an additional $500,000. Sabathia ended the season with only 153 innings. He fell short of the bonus due to an ejection in his final start of the season. In a game against the Tampa Bay Rays, Sabathia took it upon himself to settle a score the old-fashioned way. He took umbrage with an opposing pitcher throwing at the head of his catcher, Austin Romine.
“I don’t really make decisions based on money, I guess,” Sabathia said. “I felt like it was the right thing to do.”
Sabathia felt it as more important to stand up for his teammate and risk getting tossed than to worry about a bonus.
Umpires tossed Sabathia, who has been throwing a 11-0 shutout through five innings. Despite missing the incentive by two innings, the Yankees awarded Sabathia the bonus anyway.
Will CC Sabathia head to the Hall of Fame? That’s a very good question. He seems to be on the bubble. A strong final season and/or a World Series win will certainly help his case.
Sabathia’s teammate, Mike Mussina, finally got the nod into Cooperstown. Mussina will enter the Hall of Fame without a logo on his cap because he played for both the Baltimore Orioles and Yankees.
With Mussina’s induction, you can make a strong argument for Sabathia’s inclusion. If the current batch of players head into the Hall of Fame under 21st Century criteria, then Sabathia should make it.
It wasn’t too long ago that 300 wins was the basic minimum requirement for a pitcher to make it into Cooperstown. In the modern era where pitches rarely complete games, 250 wins is the new benchmark.
Sabathia should hit two important milestones: 250 wins and 3,000 strikeouts. He’s four wins away and 16 strikeouts shy of those important marks.
With 246 wins, Sabathia is tied for 51st overall in career wins. Only 12 other left-handed pitchers won more games than CC. And only two other lefties struck out more batters.
HALL OF FAME FOR CC?
Sabathia was one of the best pitchers in baseball during his peak years from 2006-2011. He went 59-23 with a 3.18 ERA, plus one Cy Young and one World Series ring. He also competed in the American League at the height of the PED era.
Before heading to the Yankees, Sabathia struggled in the postseason. In the 2009 postseason, he stepped up in October. He went 3-1 with a 1.98 ERA in five postseason starts with the Yanks that year.