This is just the latest bad news for the Yankees concerning Sabathia and the 6-year, $142 million contract they gave him two years ago.
Sabathia is 33 years old, has a history of knee problems, his fastball has disappeared, and the Yankees still owe him $90.6 million.
Following the 2010 season he had arthroscopic surgery on his knee to repair a small meniscus tear in the same knee that is ailing him now. A year later, Sabathia lost 25 pounds to take pressure off his knees. This past off-season, Sabathia lost even more weight .
But despite being in better shape, Sabathia's fastball continues to slow down and his performance has suffered in recent years.
As his fastball velocity has fallen, his Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP; similar to ERA but a better indicator of how well a pitcher is performing) has gone up.
There are signs that Sabathia may be able to turn it around if he can stay healthy.
Despite losing velocity on his fastball, Sabathia is actually striking out a career-high 9.4 batters per nine innings as he has become more dependent on his slider and changeup.
Also, batters have a .350 batting average off of Sabathia on balls they hit in play (BABIP). That is an unusually high number and suggests that Sabathia has just been a little unlucky early on in the season.
Still, the velocity on his fastball and the recurring knee problems may be things that cannot be fixed. If not, the Yankees have yet another bloated contract that they will soon regret.
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