Cleveland Indians

Former Indians pitcher CC Sabathia to retire following 2019 season

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Former Cleveland Indians and current New York Yankees starting pitcher CC Sabathia will reportedly announce this weekend that 2019 will be his final season as a professional baseball pitcher.

The 38-year-old left hander will be entering his 19th major league season and is approaching some major career milestones but this will be it for the former Cy Young Award winner.

Cleveland drafted Sabathia with the 20th overall pick in the 1998 MLB Draft out of Vallejo High School in California. In 2000, he was named the Indians Minor League Player of the Year and made the Indians major league roster out of spring training heading into the 2001 regular season.

As a rookie, Sabathia went 17-5 in 33 starts with a 4.39 ERA, 171 strikeouts in 180.1 innings pitched. He finished 2nd in American League Rookie of the Year behind Ichiro Suzuki who was also the American League MVP.

Sabathia made his first All-Star game in 2003 and made it again in 2004 representing the Indians but from 2002-2006, Sabathia won more than 15 games once and his ERA was between 3.60-4.37 in each season besides 2006 when he had a 3.22 ERA.

In 2007, Sabathia finally reached his potential the organization was hoping for when they drafted him. He went 19-7 in 34 starts with a 3.21 ERA with 251 strikeouts to 59 walks and recorded 10 complete games and five shutouts which led all pitchers in those categories.

Sabathia won the Cy Young Award as the Indians won 96 games and were tied for the best record in the American League. However, Sabathia faltered during the postseason going 1-2 with an 8.80 ERA in his three postseason starts and the Indians lost to the Red Sox in the ALCS.

Cleveland traded Sabathia to the Milwaukee Brewers halfway through the 2008 season for a package that was centered around then highly touted prospect Matt LaPorta and a player to be named later named Michael Brantley who turned out to be the best player in the deal.

Sabathia was in his final year under contract and with the Indians having no money to be able to retain him, they decided to trade him three weeks before the trade deadline.

After a strong second half with the Brewers in which he helped push them to their first postseason appearance since 1982, Sabathia cashed in signing a seven-year, $161 million dollar contract with the New York Yankees, his professional home for the last decade.

With the Yankees, Sabathia has gone 129-80 in 284 career starts with a 3.74 ERA and 1,593 strikeouts. He’s been elected to three more All-Star games and in 2009, he helped lead the Yankees rotation to their 27th World Series championship.

In his 18 year career, Sabathia is 246-153 with a 3.70 ERA in 538 starts with 2,986 strikeouts and 38 complete games (most all-time among active pitchers).

He is closing in on 250 career wins and 3,000 career strikeouts which would likely make him a lock for the Hall of Fame when it’s his time to go on the ballot.

The last few years have seen Sabathia deal with some health issues off the field including spending time in a alcohol rehabilitation center and during this offseason, he had a stent put in his heart to help with an artery blockage. He is on track to be ready for the regular season.

Sabathia and the Yankees will visit Cleveland on June 7-9 and hopefully the Indians organization will have something planned during that weekend to pay tribute to the left hander much like they did with former catcher Victor Martinez during his final visit with the Detroit Tigers last season.

 

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