CC Sabathia is Over-Rated.
I knew this would happen. I have been wanting to write a piece on how I thought CC Sabathia‘s season last year was over-rated, but haven’t gotten around to it. After last night’s 4 IP/6 ER performance, I knew I had to make time.
I am a Yankee fan living in Canada, but I did not like the 7 year deal that the Yankees gave CC Sabathia.
I did not really understand the reasoning why experts were giving CC Sabathia Cy Young or MVP votes last season. As soon as he got traded to the Milwaukee Brewers, he went 11-2 with 7 complete games and an ERA of 1.65. Those are great numbers – for the National League. But it seemed like every time I checked the boxscore at another brilliant CC performance, he always seemed to pitch against teams like Pittsburgh, Washington or Cincinnati. You know, those below .500 teams at the end of the season, simply trying to endure.
I took a closer look.
Sabathia made 12 out of 17 starts against teams below .500!! Cincinnati (3), Pittsburgh (3), San Diego (2), Colorado, San Francisco, Atlanta, and Washington That is an ridiculously favorable schedule. Naturally, in those starts, he went 8-1. He dominated sub-500 teams, just as any good pitcher would. Simply a good pitcher.
As an American League pitcher last year, he was 6-8 with a 3.83 ERA. Pretty big difference. The AL is a hitter’s league. The designated hitter is a huge difference. You go from pitching against pitchers in the NL to professional hitters, who do not need to focus on defense.
He signed a 7 year/$161 million contract. Hmmm.. If only if I could think of any other big contract lefties who were busts. Mike Hampton? Barry Zito?
I am not saying that Sabathia will be a bust, I am just saying that you have to temper your expectations of what he is capable of. He over achieved against less than average teams in a wekaer hitting league last season. Even if Sabathia pulls a Zito, the contract will still be justified if the Yankees win a championship, which seems unlikely if Sabathia does not perform up to par.
The signing of Sabathia seemed like a strategy that I employ while playing fantasy sports. I usually pick up free agents who I really don’t need, but would rather have on my team, than another guy using against me. The Yankees feared that if someone else grabbed Sabathia, it would come back to haunt them. They would rather have him on their team, than him performing on another team. The only difference between how I employ the strategy and how the Yankees have is that the Yankees need Sabathia.
On the other hand, I loved the signing of AJ Burnett. Burnett was signed for half the price, and will be better than , Sabathia. I was extremely impressed with Burnett, having watched him over the past 4 seasons in Toronto. He has a great curveball, a plus fastball, and a deceptive wind up. He is a great team mate that brought the entire pitching staff together in Toronto and made them a single unit. It was really great to witness. He also has experience pitching in the AL East. The most important thing about Burnett is that he sincerely wants to win – in front of a lot of people. In Toronto, he pleasded with fans to come out to games. He won’t have to do that in New York.
As mentioned in my Season Preview, I picked Burnett as the AL Cy Young. He should be able to compete for it, alongside his former team mate and mentor, Roy Halladay. Those two challenged each other and learned from each other so much last season.