The Toronto Blue Jays are reported to have met with free agent, CC Sabathia and that could work out nicely for them
The Toronto Blue Jays are in the hunt for pitching help. It may not be their most dire need, but they do need it. With the likes of Mat Latos making starts for them in 2017, Toronto needs to find help where they can. One such place is the free agent market. The market is as plentiful as one might like, but there are some decent options available, depending on what you’re looking for.
For the Blue Jays, already having a rotation that consists of Marcus Stroman, Marco Estrada, J.A. Happ and with the right amount of luck, Aaron Sanchez, the club should be looking for a decent 5th starter kind of arm. A top of the rotation starter would be great, but with limited funds, it might be more useful to look to fill the other end. That is why hearing that they’ve “talked” to C.C. Sabathia is actually good news.
CC Sabathia met with Blue Jays on Tuesday
— George A. King III (@GeorgeAKingIII) December 13, 2017
Obviously, we have to remember that a meeting could consist of a whole number of possibilities. It could mean nothing, or it could mean a lot. Time will tell what these conversations yielded. But, upon hearing this report, there were folks who took to complaining, to no one’s surprise. Essentially, people who are looking for that one big move to put the team over the top feel that this is tantamount to dumpster diving. Sabathia is a shell of his former self and there is no way this team can compete by signing a rather large 37 year old.
And, maybe they’re right. This would not be the sexy signing we’ve all been hoping for. But, it very well could prove to be a solid one. After some down seasons, Sabathia bounced back in 2017 to go 14-5, 3.69 in 27 starts. He put up 1.9 fWAR with his 1.27 WHIP. The former hard throwing strike out tosser has evolved into a reasonably effective pitcher. His 3.69 ERA is far from what he has made his millions off of, but for a 5th starter, it is more than acceptable.
Consider the expectations of a 5th starter across baseball and you will definitely consider Sabathia as a solid option. That said, whether or not he can maintain his 2017 success is the risk that any club that signs him takes on. At 37 yrs old, how many more years does he have left. If this were two seasons ago, we wouldn’t have said he had any. But, his 2017 has given a ray of hope for the 2018 season at the very least. MLBTR predicts that he will fetch a 2 yr/$24M deal. Now, they think he’ll return to the Yankees, but you can bet that he will sign with whomever is going to pay him.
If you’re the Blue Jays, a two year deal for a 5th starter around the $10M- $12M range is worth spending on. In order for it to be “worth it” he would need to put up just over one win. Considering his 2017, it isn’t unreasonable to expect that he wouldn’t do that. For a team like Toronto, in the position they are, perhaps paying for a 37 yr old and hoping they can continue to play above a win makes a lot of sense. They are trying to compete in 2018 and do not want to take a chunk out of their future. Sabathia would be a step in that direction.
The Blue Jays have other needs this offseason. From the sounds of things, they’ll be trading for infield and outfield help and likely signing pitching help. Adding Sabathia would raise the floor of their rotation without tapping into their prospect capital. It would also allow them to not have to rely on Joe Biagini as a 5th starter. He could slide back into his more effective bullpen role, which would further solidify the team overall.
There are no guarantees in baseball. That is particularly true of a guy like CC Sabathia. For the Blue Jays, he might be worth the risk and the financial commitment. He would raise the floor of the rotation, save prospect capital and indirectly help the bullpen. And, sticking it to Yankee fans who think Sabathia would never lower himself to sign in Toronto would be the icing on the cake.
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