One of the biggest offseason headlines for the New York Yankees had to do with who would be in their starting rotation for the 2016-17 season. Obviously Tanaka, Pineda, Eovaldi and Severino earned their spots, but what about the fifth spot?
Ivan Nova and CC Sabathia were fighting for that last slot, with Bryan Mitchell not far behind. Now, according to sources, Sabathia will likely fill up the fifth slot for the Bronx Bombers.
Based purely on the numbers, Bryan Mitchell was the obvious choice. Going 2-0 in spring training with an ERA of 0.61 in 14 2/3 innings, Mitchell defiantly proved that he has improved since 2015.
So why Sabathia? Unfortunately, spring training numbers have very little to do with who gets to nod. The Yankees most likely looked at Cy Young and World Series numbers, ultimately seeing that Sabathia has more experiance as a starter than Mitchell does.
On Tuesday, Sabathia pitched for four innings, allowing two runs on three hits before the game was postponed due to weather. Head coach Joe Girardi called that outing one of Sabathia’s “best in awhile”, although nothing in that pitching performance amused me.
Another factor in the Yankees decision was Girardi stating how “embarrassing” it would be for Sabathia to accept a demotion, considering he won the 2007 Cy Young alward. Really? Wasn’t that nine years ago?
“I think that would be difficult for him, yeah,” Girardi said. “CC has done a lot of good things in this game for a long time. Whatever decision we made, this is the hardest part of the year for me sometimes, these decisions that we have to make. You know that someone is going to be disappointed. You develop relationships, and it’s difficult.”
Over the next two seasons, Sabathia is set to make $50 million, making him the most expensive fifth man in recent memory.
Both Nova and Sabathia have been underwhelming this spring, as they both currently contain ERAs over 5.00. In Sabathia’s previous 24 starts, he is 4-9 with a 5.27 ERA.
If you asked for my prediction, I would claim that Bryan Mitchell will see a few starts this season, whether it’s due to injury, or just another mediocre season for Sabathia.