With all eyes on the young talent of the New York Yankees, CC Sabathia will be the veteran to help lead them to victory.
CC Sabathia seems like he’s been around forever. From his time with the Cleveland Indians to his short stint with the Milwaukee Brewers, Sabathia was always a staff ace.
That is, until these past few seasons. With the New York Yankees, Sabathia started out strong in the role of a reliable go-to man but in recent years, his struggles have become more and more obvious.
Many people equate it to age. At 36 years old, Yankees fans are expecting 2017 to be Sabathia’s final season with the club but if last season proved anything, it’s that they need his experience to stick around a little bit longer.
The rotation is littered with young pitchers that can certainly benefit from learning from the former CY Young Award winner and six-time All-Star. Plus, an extra season of Sabathia provides some breathing room for the upcoming prospects who might not be ready just yet.
The Yankees are in transition, welcoming rookies in all positions. Masahiro Tanaka is the staff ace at 28-years old. Michael Pineda is 27 and primed, or so we hope, to have a big season. The only other “lock” in the rotation is Sabathia.
The big southpaw is the veteran leader of this staff, regardless of how dominant Tanaka has been over his first few seasons as he’s been through it all throughout his career.
He’ll be the one to encourage teammates when they’re going through slumps because he’s been there and the one urging his teammates to stand up for himself because he’s been there too. Sabathia’s experience is invaluable to an insanely young Yankees lineup.
While Sabathia has been through a lot, it helps make him a better teammate. They stood by him when he took a leave of absence to better himself before the 2014 Wild Card game. His leadership will be more than welcome during a time when the team is overrun by youthful talent.
He’s got a lot to teach these kids from all that he’s experienced in his years in the MLB. He got back out there after criticism about his decision to skip the Wild Card game to admit himself into rehab for an alcohol addiction. He proved to the Yankees and the team that being a better person is sometimes more important than the game you love.
Sabathia may have only gone 9-12 this year, but he showed flashes of the ace that went to three straight All-Star games. Those flashes of brilliance prove that Sabathia isn’t ready to hang up the cleats just yet.
The emotion and passion Sabathia shows on the mound proves how much he loves the game. He is disappointed in some performances, yet he still arrives with a new mindset for his next start. That is something that all young players can, and should, learn from.
Sabathia has taken a far different path than several other current players. Every player will go through some struggle in their career, whether it be on or off the field.
While CC Sabathia might not quite be the ace he was in the past, he still has what might be considered his most important role yet: as a teammate and mentor for the future of the Yankees.