CC Sabathia Explains Why He Chose the Yankees Over the Blue Jays

For a very brief moment, it seemed like CC Sabathia might be a good fit for the Toronto Blue Jays. They were a team in need of a fifth starter to shore up their starting rotation, and Sabathia fit the bill as a battle-tested veteran against AL East hitters.

As realistic as an option as he would’ve been for the Blue Jays, it turns out he had New York on his mind the entire time. In fact, despite reports of the Blue Jays’ interest in Sabathia, Toronto wasn’t on his radar as a free agent destination.

Sabathia revealed as much on the latest Player’s Tribune R2C2 Podcast with Ryan Ruocco. When asked about potentially facing the Yankees as a visiting player, he reiterated why he choose to re-sign in pinstripes.


Ruocco: Can you imagine pitching to this (Yankees) lineup?

Sabathia: No, absolutely not. That’s why I wouldn’t have went to the Blue Jays. If I’m going to be in the East, I’m going to be on the best team. I’m not coming into Yankee Stadium and getting my ass kicked.

Although the answer was brutally honest, I have to admit that Sabathia isn’t wrong. In any case, if you’re interested in listening to the full episode, it’s embedded below. Sabathia is pretty candid in this interview with Ruocco.

In retrospect, it’s interesting how the Sabathia-Blue Jays reports were portrayed in the media. Given Mark Shapiro’s history with his former Cleveland Indians first-round draft pick, the probability of a reunion seemed pretty high. However, from Sabathia’s testimony on this podcast, things were nowhere near close to materializing with the Blue Jays.

It’s a start reminder that although things seem like a perfect fit, ultimately free agents have the final say in where they play. In Sabathia’s case, he wanted to give himself the best chance to win with the Yankees rather than the Blue Jays.

Hat tip to @BronxBomberBall and /r/TorontoBlueJays for the heads up.

Ian Hunter

Ian has been writing about the Toronto Blue Jays since 2007. He enjoyed the tail-end of the Roy Halladay era and vividly remembers the Alex Rodriguez "mine" incident. He'll also retell the story of Game 5 of the 2015 ALDS to his kids for the next 20 years.