Sabathia, in an all too familiar pose this year, watches one leave the yard.
By Barry Millman
It's taken them long enough, but the Yankees have finally decided it isn't too impolite after all to ask C.C. Sabathia, their highest-paid, worst-performing player to take a few days off and use the time to work on his problems in extra bullpen sessions rather than during games.
By all accounts, including team beat writer Brendan Kuty's, Sabathia's reaction to the idea he should be treated like any other player whose performance had slipped to the bottom of his peers in MLB was less than noble.
Interestingly, in announcing that Ivan Nova would take Sabathia's normal turn in the rotation against the Rays today, manager Joe Girardi also opened the door a crack to yet another remedy to the Sabathia dilemma should the extra bullpen work prove fruitless by mentioning he thought the pitcher "could be dealing with issues with the right knee that caused him to miss almost all of 2014 and worried the Yankees in spring training."
As I've noted before, there's only three possible doors the Yankees can push C.C. through to get him out of the rotation where he's blocking better pitchers in the system and blowing up leads every week:
1) Sending him to the bullpen and converting him to a reliever so he doesn't have to face batters more than once or twice per appearance, which would improve his chances to become a team asset rather than a liability and rebuild his value -- a tactic that has had proven success elsewhere but would require his cooperation and willingness to admit he has serious problems, an as-yet-unrealized development;
2) Designating him for assignment with an offer to eat the vast majority of his remaining $53 million salary in the hope of getting a useful trade piece or two in return, or
3) The Gillooly option: Finding some medical excuse connected to his prior surgeries to send him on extended leave via the disabled list and then forcing him to the minors for rehab starts to fix his problems there -- assuming, of course, they're fixable.
Don't look now C.C. but those footsteps you're hearing may finally be headed toward one of those doors.
You can email Barry Millman at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @nyyankeefanfore.