This is in honor of AJ Burnett's 32nd birthday tomorrow. (Now register for AJ Burnett DL contest below)
A lot of discussion has gone on in the baseball world over the last few weeks since the Yankees cleaned up by signing what is considered to be the top 3 free agents on the market this winter.
In traditional Yankee fashion the trumpets came out in New York declaring 2009 the year of the Yankees while of course the echoes of "Red Sox suck" have reemerged from a forgettable year in Yankee land. Sad really that what is considered to be a forgettable year in New York (89 wins) has not been seen by some franchises in many years (Pirates, Royals), and would have made the playoffs in the American League Central (88 wins*) and National League West (84 wins).
None the less the year is a wash in New York because nothing but playoffs is acceptable in the unofficial capital of Baseball. So of course as everyone expected the Yankees have made a splash this off-season acquiring Nick Swisher than the signing of CC Sabathia, AJ Burnett, and Mark Teixiera.
CC Sabathia I get. He's an elite left handed pitcher with Cy Young status and abilities all combined with solid dugout contributions. Still overpaid...
Mark Teixeira I get. Who doesn't want a great glove at 1B combined with a bunch of years of consistent power and average? Plus frankly why let your biggest competitors get such a huge asset. Still overpaid....
However overall I'm confused on how one of them was even considered as a top free agent. Of course I'm referring to AJ Burnett.
Clearly stats have little or nothing to do with this signing. In case you haven't looked at his line he has only 1 seasons with more that 12 wins. To put it best I have to quote CBS, "Burnett has a knack of pitching well for a big contract, one he received from the Yankees this winter. He has been plagued by injuries over the years and has made several trips to the disabled list with elbow and shoulder troubles, including Tommy John surgery, but he was fine last season and made a career-best 35 starts -- just in time to make $82.5 million."
Amazingly he has actually achieved over 30 games started twice in his 10 year career. The way he whines like a little school girl when he gets a paper cut I figured 30 games started were unachievable for this "stud" pitcher. I give him 4 games in a Yankee uniform before he gets "hurt" and spends some good time on the DL. (By hurt I envision psychologically from the fans abuse)
Regardless how does a an almost .500 career pitcher with so much injury history make so much money? $16.5 million is a lot of money for the baggage ,and the risk associated to it. It's even more amazing the Yankees were willing to lock him in for so long almost certainly ensuring they will pay him for 1+ years of disabled list time.
Curious how much the last few CY Young winners made in 2008?
(2008 NL) Tim Lincecum - anomaly since he's only in his second year but he made -$405,000
(2007 NL) Jake Peavy - made $6.5 million in 2008
(2006 NL) Bradon Webb - made $5.5 million in 2008
(2008 AL) Cliff Lee - made $4 million in 2008
(2007 AL) CC Sabathia - made $11 million in 2008
(2006 AL) Johan Santana - made $16.9 million in 2008 (just landed the big contract)
Also like to point out that Roy Halladay only made $10 million in 2008 and he was the backbone pillar of strength for the Jays - not AJ Burnett.
Regardless AJ's ERA was a unremarkable 4.07 (career 3.81) and conveniently the Jays provided him some good run support to allow him to win so many of his games at the end of the season. If only they provided Roy Halladay the same run support he could have made a run at 25 + wins an a more serious contender for Cy Young in 2008. Sad to watch Halladay pitch complete game gems for losses because the Blue Jays fail to hit for him.
Maybe if Burnett stays healthy for at least one year he could possibly make a run at 20 games again, but it will only be because the Yankees provide huge run support. On that note I think Cashman had is right last year on trusting in Ian Kennedy and Phil Hughes which cost him almost nothing in salaries. Yes they got injured but so is AJ half of the time...
Shame Yankee fans have no patience since it just cost them $82.5 million for a bag of balls, and a paper cut right between their index finger and the thumb. Did someone say ticket prices are going up?
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