CC Sabathia
ESNY Graphic, Getty Images

The New York Yankees must bring starting pitcher CC Sabathia back for 2019 by any means necessary.

Josh Benjamin

CC Sabathia is about to become a free agent for the second year in a row. If the New York Yankees are smart, they’ll bring him back for 2019.

OK, that’s a broad statement. After all, the Yankees are in a position where the pitching staff needs to get younger, and Sabathia turns 39 next summer. He also earned $10 million in 2018, a lot of money for a player his age. Sabathia is no longer a spring chicken and isn’t the type of pitcher he was upon arriving in New York. Still, he has etched himself into Yankee lore in more ways than one.

Make no mistake, ladies and gentlemen. CC Sabathia’s intangibles outweigh any concerns there may be about his pitching. This is exactly why the Yankees must give him one more year in the Bronx.

A rocky campaign

CC Sabathia’s 2018 was, to be blunt, a step back compared to what he did in 2017. He went 14-5 with a 3.69 ERA last year compared to 9-7 with a mark of 3.65 this season, which is basically a wash, and Sabathia also saw his K/9 go up to 8.24 from 7.26. His WAR jumped from 1.9 to 2.5. Despite his issues, he basically kept pace with last year’s performance.

However, Sabathia’s groundball rate (GB%) dipped five and a half points to 44.4 percent, per Fangraphs. His flyball rate (FB%) jumped nearly seven and a half points to 35.3 percent. Luck may have been a factor in that regard, at least to a certain degree, but the numbers speak for themselves. CC Sabathia is an aging veteran with diminishing fastball velocity, so how much could he have left in the tank?

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