A former Indians star and one of the best pitchers of his generation is approaching the end of the line.
CC Sabathia announced Saturday that the upcoming 2019 season will be his last in Major League Baseball. The 38-year-old made the announcement at a press conference from the New York Yankees' spring training complex in Tampa, surrounded by family and teammates.
"It's time," Sabathia told reporters, eliciting laughter from the room. "My knee, just the shape that it's in...My kids are getting older. It's time for me to be with them...There's just a lot of stuff that I miss and I would like to be around."
In 18 seasons, Carsten Charles Sabathia has amassed 246 wins, 2,986 strikeouts, and six All-Star appearances. He has also made the postseason 10 times, and helped the Yankees win the 2009 World Series.
In Cleveland, Sabathia is best known as being the Indians' first round draft pick in 1998 before spending his first seven-plus big league seasons with the Tribe. He was the runner-up for the American League Rookie of the Year Award as a 21-year-old in 2001, and made his first of three All-Star appearances with the club two years later.
In 2007, CC put together one of the best seasons by a Cleveland pitcher, going 19-7 with a 3.21 ERA to become the first Indian in more than 30 years to win the AL Cy Young Award. He also helped the Tribe take home the AL Central title and advance to the playoffs, where they came within just one game of reaching the World Series.
Just one year later, with free agency looming and the Indians out of contention, Sabathia was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers just before the MLB trade deadline. While the deal ended up bringing future All-Star Michael Brantley to Cleveland, many Tribe fans never forgave the team for parting ways with its ace.
Sabathia signed a massive free agent contract with the Yankees prior to the 2009 season, and has remained there ever since. While remaining a solid pitcher as he grew older, he has battled injuries in recent years, and even underwent heart surgery this past offseason. He is still expected to be ready for opening day.
"This is the perfect place for me to play," Sabathia said of his time in New York. "The community—on the field, in the Bronx, just all around—has been great for everybody that's sitting here at this table."
Several former teammates and other sports figures issued statements congratulating Sabathia on his career, including NBA superstar LeBron James. The former Cavalier said CC "will go down as one of the greatest competitors to ever pick up a baseball."