Why Sign A.J. Burnett? Because The Yankees Could

Saturday, December 13, 2008

I really cannot pretend to even find a way to justify inking a pitcher who rarely makes more than 30 starts a year and is damn near always on the disabled list to a five year contract worth $82 million, that is, if I were the general manager of a baseball franchise. However, I am not a GM, and not Brian Cashman, who has decided that after inking CC Sabathia to $161 million over seven years, signing A.J. Burnett was the next move.

I mean, after signing Carl Pavano and Jaret Wright, you'd think the franchise would be a bit more careful about pitchers breaking down. But, this is the consequence of the Yankees not making the playoffs because of their pitching, and some residual grumbling about not trading for Johan Santana, letting him go cross-borough to Queens. The very public growing pains of prospects Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy also added to the furor, I'd think -- and now Hank "the Dauphin" Steinbrenner wants to make waves in order to get back to where the franchise believes it ought to be; what it believes is its birthright.

The benefit? If Burnett stays healthy, he strikes guys out. A lot. The Yankees are not a great defensive team to begin with. Any pitcher who gets outs without having the ball go off someone's bat is a bonus, but particularly to a team that isn't great around the horn.

All is right with the world again when the Yankees are blowing through money in free agency with an Alfred E. Neuman attitude towards the economic recession. Such is sport: the industries that are recession-proof are booze, cigarettes, porn, and the Yankees.

Posted by Signal to Noise at 4:30 PM

17 Comments:

Sigh....the Yankees will be the Yankees I guess. They'll sign every body possible and then, just like last year, they'll faulter to the Sawx and Rays.

JFein said...
Dec 13, 2008, 4:45:00 PM  

that would make sense if hank was in charge, to bad he isnt

Anonymous said...
Dec 13, 2008, 4:49:00 PM  

I can not wait for a 300 pound C.C. Sabathia pitching a mid-July day game in the middle of his contract. Or the first time A.J. goes on the D.L.

49er16 said...
Dec 13, 2008, 5:01:00 PM  

I'm a Yankees fan who isn't in love with this signing, but I hate those that criticize it just for the money. Atlanta was offering just as much, Burnett has said he didn't want to be the ace of the staff and is more comfortable as a #2 (just like he was behind Halladay in Toronto). These fans should be complaining to their own front office that they aren't trying hard enough. The Yankees spend almost every $ they earn back on their team while guys like Minnesota Twins' owner Carl Pohlad, one of the richest men in the world, claim poverty due to his small market.

Anonymous said...
Dec 13, 2008, 5:02:00 PM  

Anon - it's the money and the length of the contract for me. Three years I understand. Five for an injury-riddled pitcher? No thanks.

Signal to Noise said...
Dec 13, 2008, 5:27:00 PM  

Yankee Fan Math:
60 million = 82.5 Million
4 Years = 5 Years
15 per year = 16.5 per year.

Good work.

That being said, I do agree that at least the yankees spend their money of their club. Every other team could do that but choose not too

Sam said...
Dec 13, 2008, 5:36:00 PM  

Like I said, I'm not in love with the signing, but when the best alternatives were an even more questionable Ben Sheets or an aging Derek Lowe, the Yankees had to match or better the Braves offer. The Yankees were desperate for pitching after last year with Darrel Rasner and Sidney Ponson as their #4 and #5 for half the year or more and Hughes/Kennedy still struggling to establish themselves as major leaguers. Also, they had over $80 million come off the books this year with Giambi, Mussina, Abreu, etc gone...this buying frenzy isn't over yet.

Anonymous said...
Dec 13, 2008, 5:40:00 PM  

Same anon as 5:02 and 5:40:

Any stat buffs out there can read this site, as they accurately projected Burnett's contract value back on Nov. 18...

http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/free-agent-values-aj-burnett

Anonymous said...
Dec 13, 2008, 5:43:00 PM  

I am also a Yankees fan. This is signing is f***in' terrible. Hankenstein or Cash, whoever made this decision is paying out 5 years for performance in one season. Sure Burnett is damn good whenever he's healthy, but that is the key.

The real problem, as I see it, is the lineup. We remove Abreu and Giambi, who is protecting Arod next season? Nady? Matsui? Swisher? Did, the yankees really need another .250 25 hr guy and another pitcher who is unlikely to remain healthy? Why Swisher? Why Burnett? WHY?

Jeff said...
Dec 13, 2008, 6:36:00 PM  

You would think after last year's World Series that payroll is NOT the key to success. How much did Philly and Tampa spend on players?

JMNOR55 said...
Dec 13, 2008, 11:14:00 PM  

As a Minnesotan living in North Dakota, I know all about the small market stuff. But lets be real...sports is a business, and if Carl Pohlad or Donald Sterling want to make money, let them. If you have a problem with your team not spending money, don't watch them or go to games.
The Yankee's do what every team wishes they could do, and I don't have a problem with it. They can afford to do it. The Sabathia signing is a good one, but why does one good year by Burnett make him worth so much?

Anonymous said...
Dec 13, 2008, 11:49:00 PM  

I think A.J. is one of those guys that's gonna have a 5 ERA when he starts pitching in the Bronx and become a disaster. As for some of the other commenters, I'd much rather have invested in Lowe who's already pitched successfully in two big markets, or even Sheets who's only looking for a two year deal. What could go wrong with Burnett? He could start pitching poorly and take up a roster spot to do it. There's only 25 of those and if you have too many poor signings, you can't create enough space for better players.

Larry Brown said...
Dec 14, 2008, 5:56:00 AM  

I don't get it! The Yanks don't get after Santana last year and get killed.

Now they spend money (instead of pocketing it like the Royals and Marlins) and they get killed

Talk about can't win situation

vegas cabbie said...
Dec 14, 2008, 10:04:00 AM  

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maurice said...
Dec 14, 2008, 12:38:00 PM  

no request is too extreme http://www.real-wishes.com

maurice said...
Dec 14, 2008, 12:38:00 PM  

I dont think that Burnett's ERA is going to jump up being in the Bronx. He is after all just changing his house number on the same street so to speak. He will be facing the same people and the same teams he always did, just in a different uniform. Ill give him a shot because in all fairness Pavano was a strong pitcher when he wasnt crashing cars and what not. But this one Im a little nervous about. But then again, Sabathia, Burnett, WAng, Chamberlain and HUghes is a seriously dominating pitching rotation. Those guys if healthy are capable of winning 100+ games if they bring the nasty.

Anonymous said...
Dec 15, 2008, 10:46:00 AM  

Jobber wont last in the starting rotation, AJ will start walking people and get frustrated. A-Rod & Jeeter get exposed in the showers, and the Yankees look for a new manager, thats my 2009 predictions. That and CC being the biggest bust in history!
Go jays Go

burtdog said...
Dec 17, 2008, 11:52:00 PM  

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