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25 Chasing 28: CC Sabathia and the Yankees roster

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Carsten Charles Sabathia, born July 21, 1980

Contract Status: Entering year three of a seven-year deal worth $161 million. You may have heard that he can opt out of his contract following the 2011 season.

2010 in Review: 21-7, 237.2 ip, 3.18 ERA, 3.54 FIP, 5.1 WAR

The Good: CC led the Yankees in virtually every pitching category (notably innings and strikeouts), and among starters, was tops in WHIP, ERA and K/BB rate. He finished third in Cy Young voting, and of his league-leading 34 starts, 76% were "quality starts," the highest percentage of his career. He hasn't thrown fewer than 180 innings in any of his 10 ML seasons or posted an ERA higher than 4.40.

The Bad: There's not much to dislike. If I had to nit-pick, I would mention CC's 5.63 playoff ERA, or his increasing walk rate and WHIP, and his decreasing strikeout rate. Is anyone else the least bit concerned by those facts? The reason he managed to lower his ERA from '09 may have been due to the best groundball (51%) and line drive (15%) rates of his career. If he can continue that (a big "if" considering his career rates), it will mitigate the other negative trends.

2011 Outlook: No other single player will carry more pressure (on his hefty shoulders) than CC this year. He's the only sure thing in the rotation, and is basically a lock for 200+ innings and a sub-4.00 ERA. CC's been one of the best pitchers in the league and there's not much reason to expect anything less, especially considering he has the option to void the remainder of his contract after this season.