Pies. Championships. Inconsistency. Ulcers.
Those were just a few things AJ Burnett gave Yankee fans during his three-year stint in pinstripes. After making 98 starts for the Bombers, Burnett went 33-34, posting an unsightly 4.79 ERA. Burnett wasn’t much better in the playoffs, posting a 2-2 record with a 5.08 ERA. While those numbers don’t seem great, Burnett won Game 2 of the 2009 World Series, tossing seven innings of one run ball. Remember, Cliff Lee threw a complete game the night before so Burnett’s win was paramount.
For the one memorable game that Burnett had, he had plenty of horrible ones. In fact, 2010 as a whole, was absolutely horrible. Burnett who went 10-15, had two, four game losing streaks. In fact, during one of these streaks, Burnett gave up at least six earned runs in each of those four starts. Needless to say, the ulcers were plentiful when AJ took the ball and that’s one thing that the Yankees won’t miss.
When the Yankees traded for Michael Pineda and signed Hiroki Kuroda (with Freddy Garcia already in the fold), I think everyone knew AJ’s days were numbered. With the Yankees adopting a more cost conscious approach, shredding Burnett’s contract was a no-brainer. In fact, the Pirates paying $13MM of the remaining $30MM was just icing on the cake.
Burnett, who always kept a positive attitude, always handled the media extremely well. He never ran away from questions nor pushed over a camera man (looking at you, Randy Johnson). With Burnett gone, will a new Yankee step up and take over ‘pie duties’? Swisher seems like the favorite to take over these duties, but consider Joba the darkhorse.
While AJ Burnett was paramount to the Yankees’ 27th World Series championship, the fans will not miss the ulcers he gave us every five days. When Burnett was on his game, he was one of the best pitchers in the American League. When he was off, he was bewilderingly bad. We will miss AJ Burnett–the good-hearted, pie smasher, World Series Game 2 player–not the erratic mess we mostly saw. We wish nothing but the best for AJ as he takes his talents to the Steel City.