After a successful transition from flamethrower to veteran southpaw in 2016, CC Sabathia is looking into life beyond the New York Yankees.As Joe Girardi made what could be his final “first” press conference as the New York Yankees manager, CC Sabathia reported to what could be his last spring training at George M. Steinbrenner Field.
The 36-year old has been sporting navy blue pinstripes since 2009 and will enter the final year of his contract. Despite being on the back-end of his successful career, however, the big lefty plans on pitching somewhere in 2018.
Sabathia, who reported to Tampa on Tuesday, said that he definitely plans to return to the mound in 2018 if he stays healthy throughout 2017. Whether or not that will be in the Bronx is not yet known, but a remake of his latest season could make him a one-year extension candidate.
The lefty’s average velocity on his fastball continued its downward trend — was 89.4 mph (tenth-lowest among qualified AL starters) — but he certainly figured out how to perform well with a diminished arsenal.
Last season, the former American League CY Young award winner posted a 9-12 record with a 3.91 ERA, his lowest since 2012. He also finished second in the majors with a soft contact rate of 24 percent, according to FanGraphs.
Sabathia did undergo an arthroscopic right knee surgery for a routine cleanup back in October, but is back in full health and ready to compete for the second or third spot in the Yankees’ rotation.