CC Sabathia, pinch hitter?

Jonathan Daniel

The Yankees offense lacked punch in 2013 and certainly will continue to in 2014. A potential slugger is sitting on the bench four out of every five games, so why not give him a shot.

CC Sabathia has had a miserable season for a lifeless version of the Yankees in 2013. From 2009-2012 he was the ace of a pitching staff that was among the best in the American League, but the long ball has been his Kryptonite this season. With Superman reduced to a lesser version of himself, the staff as a whole has become merely average. This is compounded by the fact that the rest of the roster is riddled with weak, aging hitters that either have nothing left, or never had anything in the first place.

Normally this is the point where Brian Cashman would be given the keys to the Scrooge McDuck vault with permission to throw whatever free agents he sees fit into it until they've had their fill and agree to become Yankees. Those times were fun but there's a new set of rules in Yankeeland and that won't happening in the near future. So it's time for Cashman and the coaching staff to get creative if they want to inject some life into a terrible lineup that looks to be even worse going into 2014.

During his time as a big leaguer CC Sabathia has come up to the plate 113 times and has 25 hits including 3 doubles and 3 home runs. Yes, that's a small sample size and it may not seem like much, just a .339 slugging percentage, but consider this:

Player PA SLG
Alfonso Soriano 235 0.523
Robinson Cano 673 0.516
Mark Reynolds 109 0.444
Alex Rodriguez 181 0.423
Curtis Granderson 229 0.422
Brett Gardner 609 0.416
Lyle Overbay 483 0.396
Travis Hafner 293 0.384
Eduardo Nunez 321 0.370
Vernon Wells 452 0.354
Kevin Youkilis 118 0.343
Ichiro Suzuki 551 0.341
Zoilo Almonte 99 0.326
Jayson Nix 303 0.311
Austin Romine 148 0.296
Chris Stewart 336 0.269
David Adams 142 0.269

If Sabathia were to slug .339 for the Yankees this year, it would put him ahead of five players that got regular playing time and right around the level that Vernon Wells, Kevin Youkilis, and Ichiro Suzuki produced at. With his tremendous size and strength it's clear that he can do a little bit of damage offensively without really trying, so what would happen if he tried? Kevin Long has been no stranger to working with hitters during the offseason to improve their swing and approach. Some Long tutoring and regular work in the batting cage could turn CC into a big, lumbering, consistent home run threat from the left side. Adam Dunn-lite, if you will.

Should such a transformation occur, CC Sabathia could become a viable left-handed pinch hitter for every game that he's not starting, or roughly four out of every five games. Who knows, maybe this pinch-hitting hobby takes his mind off of the funk he's in on the mound and he eases back into his role as an ace. At the very least it would be fun to watch him take a couple hacks every now and again, especially at Yankee Stadium.

This idea comes with obvious injury concerns and some, most even, might find it crazy or stupid or both for many other reasons. Plus, the Yankees brass would never go for it. However, it's still less crazy and stupid than three different ideas the Yankees have come up with recently: 1) The plan at catcher, or lack thereof, for 2013, 2) The commitment of well over $10 million per year to a three-headed monster of washed up outfielders for 2013 AND 2014, and 3) The execution of Mariano Rivera Bobblehead Night.

All data used above were obtained from baseball reference.

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