The Yankees have officially agreed to terms with left-hander CC Sabathia on a one-year contract worth a reported $10MM. Sabathia, a client of Roc Nation Sports, can also earn $500K apiece upon reaching 155, 165, 175, and 185 innings. He will have full no-trade protection by operation of ten-and-five rights.
Sabathia has spent the past nine seasons with the Yankees, and he’ll return to a rotation that also includes Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka, Sonny Gray and Jordan Montgomery. It’s not a surprise that he’s returning to the Bronx; MLBTR predicted he’d re-sign with the Bombers, and Joel Sherman of the NY Post reports (via Sabathia’s agent, Kyle Thousand) that the Yankees “always wanted Sabathia back and he did not want to leave.” He also mentions that the Yankees would like to add one more starter, likely through a trade. Sherman adds in a subsequent tweet that while there were competitive offers for the lefty that made Sabathia take his time, he feels there is “unfinished business to attend to” with the Yanks.
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Sabathia had a respectable 2017 campaign, posting a 3.69 ERA that was his best mark since 2012. He induced soft contact off the bats of opposing hitters 24.1% of the time while posting a 2.40 K/BB ratio and 49.9% ground ball rate. Sabathia’s solid 2017 performance continued into the postseason, where he allowed just five earned runs in 19 innings across four starts, striking out a batter per inning. Perhaps some of his success this past season can be attributed to less exposure to hitters the third time through the order; Sabathia averaged fewer than 5 2/3 innings per start during the regular season and below 5 during the playoffs.
Sabathia was a first round pick of the Indians all the way back in 1998. He was excellent in his seven full seasons for Cleveland, including his Cy Young-winning performance in 2007. The Indians traded their prized lefty to the Brewers in 2008 in exchange for Matt LaPorta, Rob Bryson and a player-to-be-named-later that ended up being Michael Brantley. He hit the open market following an excellent stretch run in Milwaukee and signed a then-record-setting seven-year, $161MM pact with the Yankees, and has called New York his home ever since (he signed an extension with the club back in October of 2011). His five excellent starts in the 2009 postseason went a long way in helping the Bombers win a world championship that year; he managed a sparkling 1.98 ERA across 36 1/3 innings.
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