• Yanks, CC, Downplay Sabathia’s Peggy Lee Fastball

    Posted by on March 2nd, 2014 · Comments (6)

    Via David Lennon -

    …there is the not-so-small matter of the slimmed-down Sabathia, whose velocity again is a concern after he couldn’t break 88 in Saturday’s two-inning stint.

    Try as he may, Sabathia isn’t going to convince anyone that he can be Cy Young-caliber at slower speeds. At least not yet. After his outing, he faced the same barrage of questions he did last year at this time, and he no longer has the built-in excuse of offseason elbow surgery. Or the patience to go down this road again.

    Sabathia got a little chippy with his responses when the subject turned from Tanaka to his own diminished velocity, which is out of character for him. He’s as accountable as they come, and he doesn’t dodge any topic. But it’s becoming clear that Sabathia is tired of this particular narrative.

    “My fastball is what it is,” he said. “As long as I’m healthy, I’m good.”

    That’s the company line, too, and Girardi didn’t even bother to suggest — as he did in spring training a year ago — that Sabathia’s radar-gun readings will climb back to the mid-90s levels of the past. Maybe the manager is bored with the debate. But it’s more likely that he realizes it’s an indefensible position.

    “That was something people wanted to make a ton about last year and I’m not going to make much of it,” Girardi said. “To me, if he’s locating, I don’t care what his velocity is. He’s going to get people out.”

    The Yankees don’t want to consider the alternative right now. Sabathia has four years and a guaranteed $76 million left on his contract. It’s premature to believe we’re witnessing a changing of the guard in the Yankees’ rotation. But with the arrival of Tanaka, it’s not too soon to wonder about the possibility. Or how quickly that might happen.

    Comments on Yanks, CC, Downplay Sabathia’s Peggy Lee Fastball

    1. Scout
      March 2nd, 2014 | 9:53 am

      The velocity decline was inevitable; it was always a matter of how soon it would occur. Many great pitchers compensate to remain effective. We’ll see whether C.C. can figure out, like Mussina and Pettitte, how to make it work.

    2. KPOcala
      March 2nd, 2014 | 2:25 pm

      Always love it when that song can get worked in ;)

    3. Evan3457
      March 2nd, 2014 | 2:37 pm

      Command of the changeup is just as big an issue. Last year, for the first time, his changeup got belted around. The dropoff in changeup effectiveness was larger than that of the fastball. And it wasn’t a simple loss of speed reducing the contrast. He slowed down his change, and it was an average 6.5 mph slower than the FB, about the same as it was in 2010, 2011 and 2012. It’s possible that the slower FB gives hitters more time to recognize the change. He may need to slow the change even further, or change movement on it.

    4. Mr. October
      March 2nd, 2014 | 4:17 pm

      Cashman has the Yankees on the hook for what? $96 million through 2017 for the 88 mph-throwing left-handed starting pitcher? 88 mph – that’s only a couple of mph more than the splitter of Cashman’s $27 million-per year no. 3 starter. Or is Tanaka the no. 4 starter?

    5. KPOcala
      March 2nd, 2014 | 11:16 pm

      Guys like Warren Spahn come around like deep-space comets. But he won quite a few games after age 30, without the glittering K/9 figures. And he’s hardly alone. The games aren’t played in cyberspace, yet, so let’s not get hysterical, either about Sabathia, or concerning burning Cashman at the stake for what HASN’T HAPPENED YET.

    6. Mr. October
      March 3rd, 2014 | 7:39 pm

      KPOcala wrote:

      … let’s not get hysterical… concerning burning Cashman at the stake for what HASN’T HAPPENED YET.

      How about for what has?

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