Current New York Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia is joining ESPN, an odd move considering that he’s still active and hasn’t even finished off his career yet (which is coming after the 2019 season).
But the weird part about Sabathia’s hiring is that baseball, the sport he’s most known for, apparently isn’t going to be his primary focus at ESPN.
Sabathia will contribute analysis to various high-profile ESPN platforms this season, including on SportsCenter, Get Up!, First Take, Golic & Wingo and occasionally Baseball Tonight. He’ll appear in-studio for several of the appearances. In addition, he will periodically join ESPN Radio New York as a guest host on the Humpty & Canty show, which airs from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. ET. Sabathia will debut during ESPN’s spring training coverage in late March.
Sabathia elaborated on this new role when talking to reporters at Yankees Spring Training in Tampa on Tuesday, saying he’ll make 15 in-studio appearances this season on days where he’s not scheduled to pitch. Curiously, he’ll be talking about sports that aren’t baseball most of the time.
Sabathia said he’ll have 15 in-studio appearances for ESPN this season, all on days he’s not pitching. Most will be about sports that are not baseball.
— Bryan Hoch (@BryanHoch) March 5, 2019
If you’re going to hire someone like CC Sabathia, maybe you should have him focus on the sport he’s excelled at during his life. I personally don’t really care what Sabathia thinks about the NBA, NFL, college football, or any sport that isn’t baseball. Then again, it would probably be pretty damn difficult for Sabathia to provide cogent MLB analysis of players he’s playing against without tipping his hand of how he’s going to approach hitters or how the team plans on approaching pitchers.
Then again, this was probably just an early hire to stave off interest from other media companies, allowing ESPN to add Sabathia to the fold as an MLB analyst this offseason.
However, I do think there’s some risk involved in this move for Sabathia. I can’t imagine Yankees fans would be too thrilled if he gets shelled in an April start, and two days later, he’s on Get Up talking about the NFL Draft, or if he’s on the disab….er, injured list, and is in studio on First Take debating about the NBA Playoffs. What happens if Sabathia is struggling and is moved to the bullpen? Will he still show up in the studio, even though he has no idea when he’ll pitch next?
I’ve probably put too much thought into this. Sabathia will likely end up fading into the background by May, like so many prominent ESPN hires before him.