Browsing Posts tagged AJ Burnett

There’s no denying that the Yankees need to add impact starting pitching. The 2014 Yankee rotation will be led by Hiroki Kuroda, CC Sabathia, and Ivan Nova, which isn’t enough to withstand the grind of a 162 game season. To fill out their rotation, the Yankees could turn to either the free agent market or pick from uninspiring internal options. The Yankees are obviously interested in Japanese RHP Masahiro Tanaka, who may or may not be posted by the Rakuten Golden Eagles of the Nippon Professional Baseball league. Changes in the posting system, namely capping the maximum posting bid at $20 million, have made Rakuten rethink posting Tanaka. In fact, Rakuten has made Tanaka a generous contract offer in hopes of keeping its ace. 

Given the uncertainty surrounding Tanaka’s posting status, this year’s free agent starting pitching market hasn’t taken shape. This year’s ‘Top’ remaining free agent pitching options include Ervin Santana, Matt Garza, Ubaldo Jimenez, AJ Burnett, and Bronson Arroyo. All five of these pitchers have obvious blemishes and would not provide more than a middling middle of the rotation option. Next year, however, potentially presents one of the best free agent classes in recent memory. Of note, Cy Young Award winners Clayton Kershaw and Max Scherzer could hit the open market. Established AL East options should as Jon Lester, Justin Masterson, Jake Peavy, and James Shields will be available. Finally, a few decent options from the NL Central, Homer Bailey, Johnny Cueto, and Yovani Gallardo will also be available. 

In Part I of this article, we’ll breakdown each of the available 2014 free agent options to see whether or not they’re a fit for the Yankees. Part II will address the 2015 free agent class. More after the jump..

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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.

AP Photo

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.

It’s been in the works for weeks now, but the trade has finally come to a head. The Yankees and Pirates agreed to a trade that will send AJ Burnett and $20 million (of $35 million remaining) to the Pirates for two minor leaguers. One of the minor leaguers is Diego Moreno, a right handed pitcher who appeared in Double A last year, but suffered from rotator cuff problems. The other propsect is unknown.

All players involved need to pass physicals and the Commissioner’s Office needs to give the ‘okay’, but AJ’s time as a Yankee is over.

I’m on record being 100 percent against this move and I think this a huge, huge mistake. The rotation is filled with young arms and I don’t trust Freddy Garcia. We’ll see how this season plays out, but I think Burnett will have a huge season with the Pirates. Hopefully for Yankee fans, the Pirates don’t flip him at the Trade Deadline to a contender. (Imagine AJ pitching for the Red Sox while the Yankees pay him?!)

On the surface, the Yankees are trying to dump AJ Burnett and save roughly $13-$15 million over the next two seasons. For 2012, those $7 million in savings will help the Yankees re-sign Eric Chavez and ink a lefty-swining DH. Beyond 2012, the Yankees will have a few notable contracts coming off the books. Those freed up dollars can be used to ink one of the top free agent pitchers. At the top of the 2013 free agent list is lefty, Cole Hamels. With the Yankees ready to cut ties with Burnett and slash payroll after 2012, is Hamels the Yankees’ end game next winter?

Bronx Bound?--AP Photo

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Keep AJ.

That’s right. I said it. The Yankees should keep AJ Burnett and it would be stupid to just give him away like many suggest. In Joel Sherman’s column in the NY Post, Sherman states that the Yankees are shopping Burnett, in hopes of unloading him and a small part of his contract obligation in order to finish off their bench/DH needs. Sacrificing a starting pitcher and $20 million of free money to finish off the bench? Just think about how silly that sounds.

For as much heat as he takes, Burnett wasn’t AS BAD as everyone thinks and here’s why:

AJ BURNETT!

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Teddy Roosevelt once said, ‘Speak softly and carry a big stick’. I can’t think of a better phrase to describe the Yankee center fielder.

Good Job By Grandy--AP Photo

Known for his great play and calm demeanor, the Grandy Man crushed 41 home runs and drove in 119 runs during the regular season. Despite his excellent regular season accomplishments, Grandy’s biggest play of the season came during the ‘loudest’ time of the year. With bases loaded and two outs in the first inning last night, Grandy made a leaping, uber-athletic play on Don Kelly’screaming line drive. If Granderson doesn’t come down with that ball, the Yankees fall into a 3-0 hole, AJ Burnett’s Yankee career is effectively over, and the fan base kills the manager. Say whatever you want about the offense, pitching, whatever. But if Grandy doesn’t catch that ball, we would all be mourning the 2011 Yankees right now.

Big time players make big time plays. In this instance, the mild-mannered Grandy Man let his glove do the talking.

Game 5. Come Get Some!

TBS’ Brian Anderson put it best: “You have got to tip your cap to AJ Burnett”. Allan James Burnett – scapegoat, head case, and an afterthought – came through with an undeniably clutch start to lead the New York Yankees in a 7-1 victory over the Detroit Tigers. With the victory, the Yankees and Tigers are now tied at 2-2 a piece in the best of five series, with the winner advancing to the ALCS to square off the Texas Rangers.

AJ is now AJ - AP

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In the match-up of aces, only one truly stood out. And he’s your 2011 Cy Young Award winner.

Bottom line, Justin Verlander is good at throwing the baseball. The Tigers’s ace struck out eleven Yankees over eight innings to earn his first win of the post-season. His counterpart, CC Sabathia, struggled through 5.1, walking six. Both Verlander and CC allowed four runs,but Delmon Young’s seventh inning home run off Rafael Soriano put the Tigers ahead for good. Jose Valverde came on to record his second save of the series as the Tigers won, 5-4.

We Are Gonna Get To This Clown--AP Photo

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In a day/night doubleheader against the heavily slumping Red Sox, the Yankees won 6-2 in game one and lost 7-4 in 14 innings in game two. With the Tampa Bay Ray win, they now hold a one game lead in the American League wild card standings as each team has three games left to play.

Jorge Gives Thanks - Nick Laham, Getty Images

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Mariano Rivera broke Trevor Hoffman’s all-time save record this afternoon. Is it a big deal to me? No, not really. I know, you know, and everyone else knows that Mariano is the best ever.

Congrats!!!---AP Photo

He just lays claim to another record to his ever growing list of accomplishments. Rivera’s 602rd career save solidified the Yankees 92nd win of the year. With the win and the Red Sox loss, the Yankees sit six games ahead of Boston in the loss column with ten games to go. After the jump, I will berate, A-Joke Burnett.

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