Fun With Free Agents: Part 4 (C.C. Sabathia)
By Bryan Craves
Continuing on my quest to further speculate on the probable and improbable…
This one will likely be closer to “improbable,” but:
Why the Tigers need Sabathia:
Well, the simple and quick answer is, he’s a perennial Cy Young award candidate. A 19 game winner this past season, also posted an ERA of 3.00 and a respectable 230 strikouts (respectable indeed, as Justin Verlander struck out 250 this season). Durable, even at his size (listed at 6′ 7″, 290 pounds), logging at least 230 innings in each of the last 7 seasons. And of course, there’s the fact that he’s left handed, something the Tigers lacked in the rotation after Phil Coke was relegated back to the Tigers pen. But Sabathia has 4 pitches, and they all work: fastball, slider, change up, and a good curve ball. He’s an ace, but I’d find it hard to believe that if he’s ever on the Tigers rotation, he’d be 1-B. A scary 1-2 combo it would be, having JV and CC at the top of the rotation. At 31 years old, he’s not quite that close to being past his prime, so why shouldn’t he be a needed target for Detroit?
Why the Tigers don’t need Sabathia:
I’ll get back to you on this one. Probably never.
With the news that CC will likely opt out of his contract, it was almost (for me) necessary to bring him up. He’s likely to go back to the Yankees, but it has been reported that he’d like to hear some offers. That said:
The Tigers would be foolish not to have one of those offers out there.
With the thought that Mike Ilitch will open up the checkbook a little more following the Tigers elimination to the Rangers in the ALCS, he thinks this team can contend for a few years to come, and with a few more pieces. Except, that the Tigers pressing needs aren’t necessarily with the rotation. But for speculative purposes, if the rotation is set as it is, meaning Verlander, Max Scherzer, Doug Fister, Rick Porcello, and Jacob Turner, that means another season with 5 starters that are all right-handed. I will always have a problem with that, especially if you’re going to have the potential for inconsistencies, namely from Max and Rick. If Turner is slated to be that 5th starter, I might expect some inconsistencies from him this season too. Pretending you can add CC, who gets muscled out? Turner, being the most inexperienced of the group, might be that pitcher. Of course, I don’t want to rule out, in my world of speculation, that Dave Dombrowski might have trade ideas up his sleeve if he does in fact land a big-time pitcher for this rotation, to loosen up the log-jam.
What a good problem that might be, except with all the potential suitors out there, CC might listen, but would almost certainly be foolish not to re-sign with the Yankees, as they’ll likely have the bigger cash load, better situation, etc. from New York. They will, as usual, likely have more resources than everyone to put the best product out on the field at all times. Of course, that doesn’t mean they’ll win (just ask this year’s team), but the competitiveness will always be there.
It’d fuel the fans’ fire if DD made some noise here though. Food for thought…
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