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Could The Orioles Sign LHP CC Sabathia?

December 6, 2017
Throughout the next several weeks, we'll be looking at some prospective free agents the Orioles may be interested in. Most of them are starting pitchers.
CC Sabathia
Vital stats: Sabathia is the second-leading winner among active pitchers. His 237 victories trail only Bartolo Colon (240). The 37-year-old left-hander is 237-146 with a 3.70 ERA. He was 14-5 with a 3.69 ERA in 27 starts for the New York Yankees in 2017.
Orioles connection: Sabathia is 19-10 with a 3.56 ERA in 41 starts against the Orioles and is 11-7 with a 3.58 ERA in 25 starts in Baltimore.
Where would he fit? This warhorse would be an ideal short-term complement to right-handers Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman. His resume is unlike any other pitcher on the market.
Why wouldn't he fit? Sabathia made $25 million in 2017, and while he'd have to take an enormous cut in pay wherever he signs, he still may be too pricey for the Orioles. If the Yankees want him back, it would be hard to see Sabathia, who lives in New York full-time, leaving.
Scouting report: "Not a 200-inning guy, but he still has quality stuff, and he's a winner," one major league scout said. "Doesn't have the stamina to haul big innings, but he will keep you in a lot of games."
Another scout said, "If [the Orioles] can get him, that would be a win."
This past season, Sabathia rebounded from three subpar years and had pitched as well as he did in 2012.

While he averaged fewer than six innings per start and only recorded outs in the seventh inning in five of his 27 starts, Sabathia had the backing of a superlative bullpen, and the Orioles' bullpen is a good one, too.
The Orioles would have to sign others beyond Sabathia. At Sabathia's age, manager Buck Showalter, who takes good care of his starters, would have to manage his innings carefully, and Sabathia would probably have to skip a start occasionally.
As difficult as it may be for the Orioles to sign two of the more coveted right-handers on the market in Alex Cobb and Lance Lynn, it may be even harder to prevent Sabathia from returning to the Yankees if the club wants him.
Regardless, the Orioles should try. Sabathia would provide the big-game experience and maturity they don't currently have in the rotation, and he's certainly not afraid of the pitching in the American League East.
Couple that with his success pitching at Oriole Park, and that's a winning combination. Moreover, the Orioles currently don't have any legitimate left-handed candidates to start on their roster.
The Yankees have an excellent four-man rotation even without Sabathia (right-handers Sonny Gray, Luis Severino and Masahiro Tanaka and left-hander Jordan Montgomery), but he'd obviously make them even stronger.
Now that the Yankees are out of the running for Japanese two-way star Shohei Ohtani, they might re-engage with Sabathia.

Photo Credit: Mitch Stringer/PressBox