New York Post

CALL TO ARMS

Sabathia officially back as Yanks look to round out 2018 rotation

- By DAN MARTIN dan.martin@nypost.com

CC Sabathia is officially a Yankee again, with the team announcing the signing of 37-yearold lefty to a one-year deal on Tuesday.

The finishing touches on the rotation Sabathia will be a part of are still to be determined, with the Yankees continuing to look into the trade market for another arm.

Since the Yankees lost out on Japanese two-way star Shohei Ohtani this month, they prioritize­d the return of Sabathia — and they have shown interest in adding more depth to a rotation that also includes Masahiro Tanaka, Luis Severino, Sonny Gray and Jordan Montgomery.

Pittsburgh right-hander Gerrit Cole remains a possibilit­y as the organizati­ons haggle about what prospects the Yankees would be willing to surrender in exchange for the 27-year-old Cole.

While top prospect Gleyber Torres is off the table — as are other high-ceiling prospects Justus Sheffield and Estevan Florial, others, like Clint Frazier, Chance Adams and Miguel Andujar, remain possibilit­ies.

If the Yankees do find a way to land Cole, they’ll also have to figure out the best way to use their rotation.

Montgomery, the rookie southpaw who turns 25 on Wednesday, could start the season with Triple-A Scranton/WilkesBarr­e, since he has options remaining.

A six-man rotation, something that seemed more possible before the Yankees fell out of the Ohtani sweepstake­s, could also be an option at times — especially with the injury history of Sabathia and the fact Severino threw significan­tly more innings (209 ¹/3) than he had before thanks to the Yankees’ extended postseason run.

Cole, though, has been less effective with an extra day’s rest throughout his career, with a 2.92 ERA and a WHIP of 1.119 on regular rest and a 4.15 ERA and 1.364 WHIP on f ive days’ rest.

And the disparity was even bigger last season, with Cole finishing with a 3.09 ERA in 16 starts on four days’ rest and a 5.40 ERA on five days’ rest in 2017, which was a subpar year for him overall.

No doubt, the Yankees will take their chances with the pitcher they took in the first round in the 2008 draft before Cole opted to play at UCLA, from where he became the first overall selection three years later.

Even with Sabathia at $10 million and the acquisitio­n of NL MVP Giancarlo Stanton from the Marlins, the Yankees hope to get under the luxury-tax threshold of $197 million in 2018 to ready themselves for the freeagent class of next offseason, when Manny Machado and Bryce Harper are among the expected prizes.

In the meantime, they will scour the trade market for an affordable pitcher — like Cole, who is headed into his second year of arbitratio­n after making $3.75 million last season, when he went 12-12 with a careerwors­t 4.26 ERA and was plagued by 31 homers, the most he’s surrendere­d in a season.

 ?? UPI; Getty Images ?? THE SEARCH CONTINUES: CC Sabathia officially signed his one-year, $10 million deal on Tuesday, but the Yankees will continue to monitor the trade market in hope of adding another arm, like Pittsburgh’s Gerrit Cole (inset).
UPI; Getty Images THE SEARCH CONTINUES: CC Sabathia officially signed his one-year, $10 million deal on Tuesday, but the Yankees will continue to monitor the trade market in hope of adding another arm, like Pittsburgh’s Gerrit Cole (inset).

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