Yankees starter LHP CC Sabathia wants to return to the team he calls "home" for the 2018 season.
It was a tough night for the Yankees after losing Game 7 of the ALCS in Houston, but not many had to think about their future with the team. Sabathia was one of them as his seven-year, $161 million contract is up, and the Yankees must decided if they want him back.
Sabathia already has his mind made up.
"This is where I want to play," he told The Post's Dan Martin after the game. "Definitely. This is my home. ... I want to see this thing through."
Sabathia, who manager Joe Girardi said was under the weather entering his Game 7 start, didn't have the clutch start the team needed. He let up base runners in the first three innings, but managed to get out of each one. That is until the fourth when Evan Gattis started the Astros four-run night with a solo homer. Sabathia's night was finished after Josh Reddick hit a single in the next at-bat.
It wasn't what Sabathia expected from himself in another winner-take-all start. That is why he has unfinished business he would like to finish next season.
"One-thousand percent," Sabathia said when asked if there was unfinished business. "Our expectations were to win. ... This is a tough feeling. I've felt this way too much. I want to come back here and finish it off."
But that is not in Sabathia's hands. "Hopefully" is what he said on his return, and with the Yankees looking to stay under the $197 million luxury tax threshold this upcoming season, they may consider letting Sabathia walk.
Sabathia does provide a veteran presence in the clubhouse, though, and the Yankees could sign him for a lot less than what he was making since 2009 when the signed the multi-year deal. He already has the backing in manager Joe Girardi and GM Brian Cashman.
"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. I'm not saying that he won't be back, but there [are] no guarantees for me."
Girardi's future with the Yankees is also up in the air as he contract expired following the team's loss Saturday night. Whether he is back with the team or not, he will always be thankful for having Sabathia in his rotation.
"I'm very thankful for the years that I've had with CC," Girardi said. "He's taught me a lot. And our players can learn a lot from CC: The kind of fighter that he is and the things that he has to overcome to be successful. The knee issues and he doesn't have the 98 in the pocket anymore. And how he reinvented himself. He's as special as they get."
Sabathia owns a 120-73 record with a 3.75 ERA and 1,453 strikeouts in his nine-year career with the Yankees.