10 ‘Ifs’ That Can Turn The 2017 New York Yankees Into Champions

3. If … Sabathia Can Build On Comeback Season

Who accurately predicted CC Sabathia’s 16th year in the bigs would turn out as strong as it did? Whoever claims they did probably lying.

The 36-year old lefty entered this year’s campaign fresh out of rehab for alcoholism and still faced the problem of succeeding with a diminished arsenal.

The veteran southpaw answered questions of his dependability with a phenomenal start (5-4, 2.20 ERA in first 11 starts) but promptly lost his flare as the year hit the dog days.

From June 22 to August 17, Sabathia put together a 2-6 record in 11 starts featuring an opponent’s slash line of .291/.354/.479 and surrendered 13 home runs in just 65 innings of work. Additionally, he maintained a 6.87 ERA.

Just when everyone was ready to call for his head, or at least for him to join those being sold for prospects, the former AL CY Young award winner zoned in and turned back the clock.

Capped off by an outing on in which the 36-year-old overpowered the dominant Red Sox offense over 7.1 innings, Sabathia completed his best season (3.91 ERA) since 2012.

With a rotation cluttered with question marks exceeding their ace and little evidence of substantial help on the way, New York desperately needs an encore as Sabathia enters another year of the back-end of his career.

If that could happen, one can envision the rotation that finished with a 3.82 after the All-Star break (10th best in MLB) could build on their success into 2017.