It’s still pretty early on in the spring for notable cuts, but one from Tuesday will force me to revise my projections a bit, as the Royals optioned right-hander Carlos Rosa to Triple-A.
Now, I’m sure most won’t care about such a move. Rosa was, at best, going to be a setup man for one of the worst teams in baseball. He was regarded as one of the Royals’ best prospects at one time, but that changed due to injuries that eventually led to his conversion from a starter into a reliever.
Rosa, though, showed some real promise while working out of the pen last year. Here’s the writeup I gave him for the Rotoworld draft guide:
Instead of signing Kyle Farnsworth and Juan Cruz to multi-year deals, maybe the Royals should have just given Rosa a chance to win a job out of spring training last year. The right-hander, who was one possibility to go to the Marlins for Mike Jacobs before Leo Nunez was traded instead, didn’t have an exceptional Triple-A ERA in his first year as a reliever, but he fanned 80 batters and allowed just six homers in 71 innings in the Pacific Coast League. The Royals finally called him up in September and he picked up a save in his season debut on his way to amassing a 3.38 ERA in 10 2/3 innings. Rosa works at 93-96 mph as a reliever, and along with his hard slider, he still uses the average changeup he honed as a starter. The package should make him a nice setup man, perhaps right from the start of 2010. He definitely deserves the opportunity to overtake Farnsworth and Cruz.
Of course, there’s no real harm in the Royals’ decision to send Rosa down for a few weeks in order to take a longer look at Rule 5 pick Edgar Osuna and some guys who are out of options. It’s not like a handful of innings in April are going to make the difference in whether they reach the postseason. It’s just that it’s disappointing how rarely talent seems to win out in Kansas City.
CC Sabathia‘s contract is set to expire this offseason, but for the long-tenured left-hander, nowhere feels more like home than New York. “I want to see this through,” Sabathia told reporters after a devastating Game 7 loss in the ALCS. “This is where I want to play.” Yankees’ GM Brian Cashman spoke warmly of the veteran starter, but would make no public guarantees that he’d return to the team next spring.
Sabathia, 37, just topped off his 17th season in the big leagues and his eighth career postseason run. He went 14-5 in 27 starts and put up a 3.69 ERA, 3.0 BB/9 and 7.3 SO/9 in 148 2/3 innings, good for 1.9 fWAR. He looked solid in the playoffs, too, propelling the team to a much-needed win in Game 5 of the ALDS and returning in the Championship Series with six scoreless innings in Game 3. His season ended on a sour note during Game 7, however. He lasted just 3 1/3 innings against a dynamic Astros’ offense, allowing one run on five hits and three walks and failing to record a single strikeout for the first time in 23 career postseason appearances.
Heading into the 2017 offseason, Sabathia finally arrived at the end of his seven-year, $161 million deal with the Yankees. While he’s repeatedly expressed a desire to keep pitching, despite rumors that his career might be on the rocks following the diagnosis of a troublesome degenerative knee condition, the decision isn’t his alone to make. Brian Cashman will also be seeking an extension with the Yankees this winter, so it’s difficult to say which impending free agents the club will try to retain — and Sabathia’s name isn’t the only one on that list. If it were up to skipper Joe Girardi, who is awaiting a decision on his own future with the organization, the decision would be a no-brainer. From MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch:
CC will always be special to me because of what he stands for and the great player that he is, the great man that he is,” Girardi said. “The wonderful teammate that he is. How he pulls a team together. He’s as good as I’ve ever been around when it comes to a clubhouse guy, a guy that will take the ball when you’re on a losing streak or that you can count on, and knowing that it could be the possible last time.