But other than the potential contract, I don't see that Sabathia's got much in common with Kevin Brown, Barry Zito, or Mike Hampton. Brown had been up and down, durability-wise, and was well into his 30s when the Dodgers signed him (and it should be said that he did pitch brilliantly for two years). Zito was a disaster waiting to happen, his performance obviously slipping long before the Giants signed him. And Hampton was a very good pitcher who was thrown into an extreme environment.Neyer goes on to say that Sabathia has a lot more in common with Johan Santana based on their ages, durability and track record. Citing each as reasons not to be afraid of signing CC to a long-term deal. The one thing Neyer would worry about is CC's weight:
Essentially, all three of those deals were festooned with red flags from Day 1, and I'll bet that if you take a few minutes and look, you can find a bunch of pointy-headed sabermetricians who cautioned against them immediately.
He's the most massive great pitcher we've ever seen. Sabathia's listed weight is now 290 pounds. Maybe it's because of rank political correctness, but Sabathia's build seems to me like the elephant in the room that everyone's ignoring.I'm concerned about his weight as well. It has not effected him yet, but you have to believe as he gets older it will start to take it's toll on his back and knees.
There isn't another pitcher like him, and never has been. What happens to 290-pound pitchers as they move into their late 20s and into their early 30s? If it were me trying to sign Sabathia, that's the single unanswerable question I would ask the smartest people around me to answer.
There are examples of pitchers - like Bartolo Colon and Fernando Valenzuela - who broke down because they were just too fat, and then there are also guys like David Wells who never seemed effected by their weight in a negative way. So I guess like Neyer said it's a question that remains unanswerable.
But is it so absurd to think that maybe a $140-$150 million contract and playing for the New York Yankees might give the guy some motivation to drop a few pounds? Can't he just watch what he eats and get in the gym?