Missing the Big Guy

There’s really just one likely reaction to the news that CC Sabathia is leaving the Yankees for treatment of alcoholism: Shock.

It wouldn’t be shocking if this was the middle of the season, or if Sabathia had ever been in some public trouble related to alcohol. But him, now … It’s just shocking, and both decorum and decency demand that after the shock, our first thoughts are for Sabathia and his family, who are no doubt in for a rough few weeks or months.

After the shock and the decorum and the decency, though, it’s perfectly appropriate to wonder what this means for Sabathia’s team, right now.

From The New York Times: "Sabathia, 35, struggled this season, going 6-10 with an 4.73 E.R.A., but had recently switched to a new knee brace and was pitching far more effectively, to the point where the Yankees were looking at him to be a key contributor in any extended playoff run."

Yes, he’s pitched more effectively since rejoining the Yankees’ rotation on the 9th of September; most notably, he allowed only two home runs in his last five starts of the season. But he’s been far, far from great over that span, averaging a 56 Game Score.

With Nathan Eovaldi restricted to bullpen duties, the Yankees still have three starters who are obviously better than Sabathia: Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda, and rookie Luis Severino.

If the Yankees advance, they will need a fourth starting pitcher, which probably would have been Sabathia. Instead it’ll probably be Ivan Nova, which is problematic. Just not that much more problematic than Sabathia.

It’s a shame the Yankees decided, or were compelled, to give up on Adam Warren as a starter. I advised against it! But maybe they’ll just ask Nova for three or four innings, before turning to Eovaldi and Warren.

That’s what I would do!