CARLSBAD, Ca. — So far, the 2019 Yankees are looking a lot like the 2018 Yankees.
A week after re-signing Brett Gardner, the longest-tenured player on their roster, to a one-year deal for next season, the Yankees moved closer to signing CC Sabathia, the oldest player on the team, to a one-year, $8 million deal as well.
A team official confirmed to the Daily News that the sides were “close’’ to agreeing to the deal, which would return to the fold two of the three remaining Yankees who had been members of the 2009 World Championship team. The third, David Robertson, remains unsigned as a free agent.
Sabathia, who will turn 39 next July, had expressed a desire to pitch again in 2019 after going 9-7 with a 3.65 ERA, his lowest in six years, in 2018, although not necessarily for the Yankees.
“I’ll play anywhere,’’ he said before the Yankees were eliminated by the Boston Red Sox in the ALDS “I still want to pitch. I definitely can still get guys out. I’ll play for whoever needs me.’’
GM Brian Cashman decided the Yankees needed Sabathia, who was the starter and losing pitcher to the Red Sox in Game 4 of the ALDS, the game that ended the Yankees season.
“I’d love to have him come back,’’ Cashman said at baseball’s GM meetings on Monday. “I think he’d like to stay and we’d like to keep him but it’s a free market and that complicates things at times.’’
But the two sides apparently came to terms some time Tuesday, although neither side would officially confirm the deal on the record.
“Well, we’re going to try to sign him,’’ Cashman said Tuesday afternoon during his media availability. “We have (Luis Severino) and (Masahiro) Tanaka locked in. Obviously you’d love to bring CC back if we can and then add multiples past that.’’
Cashman has said starting pitching would be a Yankees priority this off-season, and last week, a team source told the Daily News the team would strongly pursue Patrick Corbin, a 29-year-old free agent righty who went 11-7 with a 3.15 ERA and 246 strikeouts in 200 innings for the Arizona Diamondbacks last season.
The Yankees are also interested in signing J.A. Happ, who went 7-0 with a 2.69 ERA in 11 starts for them after being acquired from the Toronto Blue Jays at last season’s trade deadline. And there is also the possibility the Yankees would try to trade for either Corey Kluber, a two-time AL Cy Young Award winner, or his Cleveland Indians teammate, Carlos Carrasco, who went 17-10 last year. Both are reported to be on the block as the Indians look to shed salary.
Citing potential tampering violations, Cashman refused to discuss the possible trades but did say that he would seek to add more than just Sabathia to his suspect starting rotation.
“I said I was looking for multiples, and that means not just CC but at least two others,’’ he said. “The more the merrier.’’
Sabathia has gone 129-80 with a 3.74 ERA in his 10 seasons with the Yankees, and was the MVP of the 2009 ALCS. But he has been hampered over the past few seasons by a degenerative condition in his right knee that requires periodic maintenance throughout the season, and he faded badly in the last month of the 2018 season, pitching to a 5.40 ERA in September.
Said Cashman: “He’s been a great Yankee and he has some time on the clock still.’’
At least one more year.