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.