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Should the Yankees part ways with CC Sabathia in the offseason?

The veteran lefty had an inspiring first half but has since come back down to Earth. Should the Yankees say goodbye to their former ace?

Cleveland Indians v New York Yankees
Should the Yankees permanently take the ball from CC?
Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

It’s not much of a secret that the Yankees are officially rebuilding. Starting July 25th when the Yankees traded Aroldis Chapman to the Cubs, the entire organization has gone through a complete makeover, from the minor leagues to the majors as well.

Aaron Judge, Tyler Austin, and Gary Sanchez now occupy important spots as regulars in the everyday lineup. Gone are the familiar faces of Carlos Beltran, Andrew Miller, and Alex Rodriguez, while Mark Teixeira is on his way out as well. With Judge occupying an outfield spot and Clint Frazier waiting his turn in Triple-A, it looks like Brett Gardner could be gone soon too.

One player though has somehow escaped all the roster turnover attention and flown under the radar in these discussions. Look no further than the Yankees’ former ace, CC Sabathia. Barring some extremely unforeseen circumstance where he ends up on the disabled list for his left shoulder, Sabathia will be under contract for next year at $25 million. The question is: should he be on the roster?

Earlier, when the Yankees parted ways with Alex Rodriguez, they set forth an unprecedented example of them fully committing to the youth movement. Rodriguez was struggling mightily and looked nothing like the A-Rod of 2015 who hit 33 home runs. Instead of paying him to struggle next year, the Yankees decided to pay him to help prospects as a special advisor instead. Obviously if Rodriguez had performed like 2015, he’d still be on the team instead of at home. The Yankees would be wise to at least consider making a similar move with Sabathia.

From April 9th to June 16th, Sabathia had a 2.20 ERA spanning 11 starts. He was making fans believe he had finally figured out how to pitch with diminished velocity. There was talk that Sabathia should win Comeback Player of the Year as he finally regained some semblance of the ace that fans had gotten used to from 2009-2012. If he were still pitching like that, this entire conversation would be moot and there’s no chance he wouldn’t get a shot to have a final season as a Yankee.

Since that June 16th start though, Sabathia has been quite the opposite with a 6.78 ERA across 11 starts. All those good feelings from earlier in the year are gone. While he has had some quality starts in those latter 11 games, most of his second half has left much to be desired. It’s been a few years now where he’s been lucky to be mediocre, and now the magic of the knee brace might finally be wearing off. The best thing for the team might just be to say their goodbyes at the end of the year and part ways.

When the Yankees sold at the deadline, many took that as a sign of the team waving the white flag. Somehow though, these Yankees have done anything but that. This youth movement led by Sanchez, Judge, and Austin has breathed new life into this team and they could actually fight their way into the playoffs. I’m not saying this is a great team, but they certainly weren’t supposed to be this good this quickly. They weren’t even supposed to be this good next year. All of a sudden, they’re in contention for a playoff spot (long shot as it may be) in spite of selling.

If they’re winning in a year where they have already given up and sold their assets, then what’s to stop them from being in contention as early as next year? Even if they’re not real contenders, Hal Steinbrenner will surely like to be a pretender as long as he can. Sure Sanchez and Judge might come back down to Earth, but if they can continue to hit, they will help lead the offense from here. They would just need pitching to help them contend (or pretend). Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like Sabathia is up to either task.

That’s where the Sabathia situation becomes tricky. Luis Severino has been absolutely awful in the majors this year. The Yankees cannot rely on him going into next year. Not yet at least. Outside of him there’s the roller coaster that is Michael Pineda as well as Chad Green and Luis Cessa, who are still just question marks. They’ve both pitched well in the rotation so far, but that sample size is too small to tell anything. The only constant in the rotation is Masahiro Tanaka.

Sabathia hasn’t been great, but outside of a strained groin, he has been healthy this year. He’d at least help provide consistency in the rotation during this transitional phase. It also doesn’t help that the starting pitching market in the offseason is barren. Doug Fister might be worth taking a chance on, but outside of him there’s nothing really out there. Sabathia might actually be the team’s best hope.

Where does that leave the Yankees? In a position where they’d love to give Sabathia’s spot to Severino or another prospect but can ill afford that risk. They’d love to move on and effectively complete the transition, but they simply can’t afford to cut him unless Brian Cashman pulls off a trade for a starter, which does seem likely. Even in that scenario, I find it tough to see them parting ways, so for now, it seems Sabathia will at least start 2017 on the roster, even if he probably shouldn’t.

What do you think? Should Sabathia have a roster spot in 2017 or should that go to someone else even if he is inexperienced?