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Jonathan Holder has a realistic shot of making the All-Star team

Middle relievers have only recently started receiving universal recognition for their individual performance in Major League Baseball, due to the new age of numbers in the sport. Saves are no longer the all-telling, ultimate stat about a reliever’s success and WAR, ERA+, and other metrics have opened the eyes of fans on just how valuable it is for a team to have dominant relievers outside of the ninth inning role. Their widely agreed on importance has led to a lot of non-closer relievers making the All-Star team in recent seasons. The American League squad had two of them in 2017 and 2015, and a whopping four in 2016. If this trend continues, the AL should feature at least one or two non-closer relievers, and possibly more, with the scarcity of lockdown closers in the AL in 2018. The Yankees feature a lot of highly talented middle relievers and the pitcher who has surprised everyone the most, Jonathan Holder, has a very realistic shot of cracking the AL All-Star squad.

MLB Free Agency: Yankees have made contact with CC Sabathia

According to Jon Heyman and others, the Yankees have been in contact with free agent lefty CC Sabathia about a return to the Bronx. CC has stated repeatedly that his preference would be to remain with the Yankees.

Credit: Mark Lomoglio/Icon Sportswire

Sabathia has also been in contact with the Los Angeles Angels and the Toronto Blue Jays in the past few days. While the Yankees continue to explore the trade market for starting pitchers, the addition of a starter through a trade wouldn't necessarily spell the end of Sabathia as a Yankee. CC has stated that he wouldn't mind pitching as part of a six man rotation going forward. That might not be a bad thing for the big lefty going into his age 38 season.

In 2017, CC pitched to a 3.69 ERA with a 14-5 record with 120 strikeouts and 50 walks in 27 starts. He was very effective in the 148.2 innings that he threw last season and pitching as part of a six man rotation would be a good way to manage his workload and keep him fresh throughout the season.

As the Winter Meetings roll on, we may get some clarity on Sabathia's future in the coming days. Stay tuned.

Article by Matt Graziano