Is This the Beginning of the End for CC Sabathia?
A day after getting hammered by the Brewers, CC Sabathia has gone on the disabled list for knee inflammation. These and other recent events have me wondering if this isn’t the turning point signaling the end of CC’s major league career. I’m not saying that CC is done just yet, but I’m thinking the arc of his career is on the downhill side and picking up speed.
Sabathia’s 4.78 ERA last year was the highest of his career, but he still was a reasonably effective starter who ate up 211 innings for the Yankees and had other numbers which suggested a least the possibility that Sabathia could still have good seasons in the future. That’s looking an awful lot less likely today.
Aside from the fact that he hasn’t pitched well this season — a 5.28 ERA and 10 home runs allowed, second only in MLB to Jeremy Guthrie — there was a blurb on mlbtraderumors.com a few days ago in which a scout was anonymously quoted saying that Sabathia’s stuff this season is “very fringy” and that he would need “impeccable” control going forward to be effective.
Now the knee problem. I’ve been saying for years that I thought CC would start having injury problems every year involving his knees, ankles or back starting around age 33, for example, here, since plus-size pitchers have always had these kinds of chronic injury problems by this age.
The current knee injury doesn’t sound too serious, but I expect that from here on in CC will be getting fluid drained off his knees on a regular basis for as long as he continues to be a professional pitcher. In terms of the red flags raised in my mind by the words “knee injury” in connection with Sabathia, the only words that would cause greater alarm are “shoulder injury” or “lower back disc injury”.
Even if CC comes back and pitches again in only fifteen days, I have a strong suspicion that we’ve seen the last of CC as an elite pitcher at least for periods longer than two or three games at a stretch.