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Ask Pinstripe Alley 7/20/16: The trade deadline, CC Sabathia’s vesting option, knuckleballers, and Pokemon Go

This week’s mailbag features hypotheticals about Sabathia, why the Yankees don’t have any knuckleballers, and more.

Ask Pinstripe Alley

Thanks to everyone who submitted a question to this week’s edition of Ask Pinstripe Alley! We received quite a few questions, especially via email. I wasn’t able to get to even half of them, but someone else might circle back to them next time.

TheJRod2006 asked: Serious question: Do Hal Steinbrenner and Randy Levine secretly hate the Yankee fanbase? There’s no logical reason for them to reportedly be the only two people in the tri-state area, as the Wally Matthews story suggested, that thinks this team is a legitimate contender. I’m not sure if they’re more arrogant, stubborn, or oblivious to what is going on around them.

They might actually hate the fanbase. It is both frustrating and absurd to hear that the front office is so divided as to what the team is going to do when the trade deadline is less than two weeks away. It’s one thing for Hal Steinbrenner and Randy Levine to say that the Yankees are still contenders, but those are just empty words if they don’t actually do something to improve the team.

Ray Petit asked: Why don't the Yankees, as well as all of the MLB teams, try to develop at least one knuckleball pitcher? Steven Wright of the Red Sox, and previously great pitchers such as Phil Niekro and Hoyt Wilhelm, show the value of such.

About three years ago, the Orioles actually hired Phil Niekro to teach three of their minor leaguers how to throw a knuckleball. The line of thought being that it could save a sinking career. R.A. Dickey was interviewed in an article asking a similar question about the lack of knuckleballers, and there seem to be two lines of thought about this. The first being that there tends to be a stigma against the knuckleball, with some people considering it more of a trick pitch than a real pitch, for whatever reason.

There’s also the fact that throwing a knuckleball is much harder than it looks. Learning to throw it requires the pitcher to unlearn what they know. Since the velocity of a knuckleball is quite a bit lower than other pitches, if it isn’t thrown just right then the game can turn into batting practice in a hurry. There also aren’t a lot of great knuckleballers left who can pass around this knowledge.

McCann’t asked: With the possibility of the Yankees selling coming up, I've been thinking about CC Sabathia. He seems like a long shot to waive his no-trade clause, but do you think he might be open to it if his new team was willing to void his vesting option? That would allow him to hit this FA market as the best starting pitcher, no QO attached. It might be his best chance to get one last multi-year deal to end his career (and avoid bouncing around). Is this a crazy idea?

I’m inclined to think that CC Sabathia’s vesting option is probably in his best interest. His 2017 option vests as long as he doesn’t end the 2016 on the disabled list with a shoulder injury, doesn’t spend more than 45 days on the disabled list with a shoulder injury, and doesn’t make more than six relief appearances due to a shoulder injury. At this point, Sabathia’s shoulder is more than fine. which means his option will vest and Sabathia will make $25 million in 2017.

Sabathia deserves a lot of credit for putting together one of his best seasons in recent years, but he has struggled quite a bit over his last five starts. Since June 22nd, Sabathia has surrendered 25 earned runs and five home runs over 28 and one-third innings. If he continues to pitch like this, it would be difficult to imagine any team giving a nearly 36-year-old pitcher with a degenerative knee condition a multi-year deal worth a significant amount of money. At least this way he gets another guaranteed $25 million (unless something goes very wrong with his shoulder between now and October).

NYCKING asked: Which player do you see when they retire entering coaching or TV/Radio field?

Well, Carlos Beltran has already said that he considers himself like one of the coaches on the team now, and that he would like to become a manager at some point in the future. Earlier in the season, Joe Girardi commented that he thought that Alex Rodriguez would make a good manager, and would also be a good hitting coach. A-Rod himself said that he wouldn’t want to become a manager, though. Nearly everyone thought he did a great job when he worked with the Fox crew during the postseason last year, but I can’t see him going into a TV job either.

Bonus question:

jarrod.spiga asked: The Sydney Swans AFL team runs kick to kick, which is a program that allows spectators to go on the the field of the Sydney Cricket Ground and kick balls around after the game. It’s quite popular with fans (especially children) but it was cancelled on Thursday night because of Pokemon Go due to safety concerns regarding the number of adults that might storm the field. Seriously. Which leads me to my question – are there any Pokemon on the field at YSIII?

There are definitely Pokemon at Yankee Stadium. I looked around Twitter for a bit and couldn’t find any evidence of Pokemon being located anywhere that would require someone to be on the actual field to catch them, which is probably for the best. Can anyone else chime in on this?