"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Something Wicked This Way Comes

It’s safe to say in all the time that I’ve known Cliff, I’ve never seen him so emotional.  I’ve seen him livid about specific plays and games–heck, he was furious (and rightfully so) when the Yankees didn’t sign Carlos Beltran in favor of Pavano, Wright and Womack.  But never anything that approaches his disgust over the AJ Burnett deal.

During the course of the season, Cliff and I will chat during a game and I’m the emotional one, flying off the handle, shouting at the top of my lungs when Alex Rodriguez just misses his pitch and fouls the ball off.  And Cliff is always collected, rational, measured.  Not a vulcan, just not easily led by his gut.

Now, I’ve savaged AJ Burnett for the past few years.  But my initial reaction here is to look for the positives.  Maybe I’m just reacting to Cliff’s reaction, and I want to keep the balance in the Bronx Banter universe (we can’t both be raving mad men at the same time, can we?), but maybe Burnett will produce.  One thing for sure–the Yankees now have a starting staff with STUFF.  Throw CC, AJ, Joba and Wang at you?  That’s STUFF, man.  When’s the last time you could say that?

My feeling is that this is Cashman pushing his chips into the middle of the table and saying, “All In.”  He’s got CC for three years, which will coincide with the end of the careers of Mariano and Posada and maybe even Jeter.  This is all about the Yankees winning now. 

Same as it ever was.  I’m not defending this deal–I think five years is crazy too–and I’m not saying that I’ve ever rooted for Burnett, but I’m open to jumping on the bandwagon.  What’s the alternative?  That he’ll be the lovechild of Kyle Farnsworth and Carl Pavano?  I already suspect that.  All I can do is be pleasantly surprised. 

And Burnett really does have STUFF.

Over at SI.com, our pal Jay Jaffe thinks the deal could come back to haunt the Yanks, still he does point to some bright spots:

Burnett’s combination of fragility and perceived squeamishness calls to mind the darkest chapter of Yankee GM Brian Cashman’s tenure, the two deals he inked at the 2004 winter meetings with a pair of injury-riddled pitchers coming off rare healthy, effective seasons, Carl Pavano and Jaret Wright. The Yankees just cleared the former’s four-year, $39.95 million deal from the books this fall. A teammate of Burnett’s with the Marlins from 2002 through ’04, Pavano signed with the Yankees in December ’04 after a season in which he’d gone 18-8 with a 3.00 ERA in 222 1/3 innings — figures that were all career bests, but representing just the second time the pitcher had been healthy and effective over a full season. Pavano made just 19 starts in his four years in the Bronx, and his litany of injuries reached such an absurd level that his initials came to stand for “Can’t Pitch.” Wright was coming off his first healthy and effective season since 1998; he managed just 43 starts over the next three years (the last one in Baltimore) and was rarely effective. Suffice it to say that the Yankees’ recent record of banking on pitchers with sketchy track records isn’t a good one.

To be fair, Burnett is a good pitcher when healthy. Though he had never won more than 12 games prior to last season — a function of his lack of availability and the occasionally meager offensive support he had received — his ERAs have been 13 percent better than the park-adjusted league average over the past four years, which ranks 16th among pitchers with at least 700 innings in that span. His 4.07 ERA this past year was inflated by about half a run thanks to his .318 Batting Average on Balls In Play, 18 points above league average.

Burnett’s strikeout rate over those four years, 8.89 per nine innings, is even better, ranking third among that group behind Cy Young winners Jake Peavy and Johan Santana. As noted in discussing Sabathia, strikeout rate is the key indicator of a pitcher’s future success because it provides the window into his ability to fool hitters with his offerings. A pitcher’s strikeout rate generally declines as he ages, but a high strikeout rate gives him more headroom before he does so. To the extent that the Yankees must look five years into the future on Burnett’s deal, his strikeout rate offers some assurance of future effectiveness — if not availability.

Steven Goldman thinks that buying AJ is about as safe as bet as buying GM.

Anyhow, while we roll this all over, here’s a couple of You Tube delights to give you a smile.

Hey, what do you think of the AJ contract, Babs?

What about you, Joe?

C’mon now, let’s just dance it off:

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1 Simone   ~  Dec 12, 2008 10:18 pm

I think that Pavano hangs around Burnett's neck. I don't that the signing is as awful as Cliff and Steve Goldman think. However, the Yankees have to go get a bat. They are going to have to trade for a bat or find the money for Texiera from somewhere or next season is going to be full of more disappointment.

2 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Dec 12, 2008 10:37 pm

Awful, AWFUL signing...D.L. "Carol" Burnett is simply not a good pitcher.."Stuff" means nothing if you are not out there regularly making quality starts. The stats don't lie; this is not a pitcher worth 5 years at that money.(FIVE YEARS?!? I feel like John Smith waking up in the Dead Zone!) Inexplicable after the CC signing...

JB makes it all better with the moves though..how can anyone dance like that?? would give a year off the end of my life to bust those moves out just once..

3 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Dec 12, 2008 10:48 pm

a rotation with Stuff...I don't know, of the Braves Big 3 a few years back only Smoltz really had stuff..Maddux and Glavine were simply brilliant pitchers...I just canNOT remain rational in the face of this wretched signing..watching D.L walk 5, K 6 and give up 4 runs in 5 innings is going to be excruciating...

4 Bama Yankee   ~  Dec 12, 2008 10:48 pm

Nice find with the Noxema commercial, Alex. It doesn't get any better than Joe Willie and Farrah. Let's just hope that it is not the Yankees that get "creamed" with the AJ deal... ;-)

5 The Hawk   ~  Dec 12, 2008 11:14 pm

I'd like to hear a devil's advocate argument from someone who is outraged by this deal. Like, what do you think, seriously and as best as you can guess, the Yankees are thinking regarding AJ Burnett? If they are so far off-base as to make the blood boil - HOW are they off-base, exactly? What, in other words, do they see in Burnett - combined perhaps with circumstance - that would justify this contract. I mean, this thing has got to have been the subject of many, many professional conversations recently. What do you think these conversations were comprised of?

6 thelarmis   ~  Dec 12, 2008 11:33 pm

btw, scott proctor's arm was non-tendered today...

7 williamnyy23   ~  Dec 12, 2008 11:49 pm

As I've posted in many previous threads, I think Cliff is way off base in his analysis. For starters, Burnett and a bat do not have to be mutually exclusive. I think Cliff has finally come off that contention based on his SI article. With that aside, I'll make the case for Burnett.

While many analysts that I respect (like Goldman and Cliff) have lined up to point out the injury history of Burnett, I fall more in the camp of Keith Law, who has focused more on Burnett's overwhelming talent. Guys with a high 90s fastball and a killer curve don't go on trees. If the Yankees could ever harness Burnett, they would have a dominant force.

Now, I am not going to be naive and suggest that Burnett will all of sudden be a picture of perfect health. Having said that, I think Cliff, et al. are exaggerating his injury history. This is not a Carl Pavano case. Over the past 4 years, Burnett has started 32, 21, 25 and 34 games. Quite frankly, I would sign up for that now. Because the Yankees now have starting rotation depth, they can easily survive Burnett missing 25 starts over the next four season. Besides, the Yankees are not simply building a contender, but a potential World Champion, and guys like Burnett make big impacts in October. It's worth noting that while with the Jays, Burnett's ERA in September was 2.92 with 130 Ks in 123 IP. How nice would it be to have Burnett carring that performance into the playoffs?

Another point of contention I have with Cliff's analysis is his assertion that Burnett is excess because the Yankees have so much pitching depth. While I am very high on Chamberlain and Hughes, I also realize that they have severe innings limits and can really only be viewed as one starter. That leaves an open slot and I simply do not think IPK or Aceves is the answer. What's more, the likes of McAllister, Bleich, Betances and Heredia are several years away (and certainly can not be projected to be effective major league starters just yet). To suggest that the Yankees don't need another effective starter because someone from this crop might eventually emerge seems a little naive to me. And, even if this really is such a great crop of pitchers, why can't one or two be packaged for a good offensive player?

Another argument that I think is fallacious is the one that suggests the Yankees are abandoning youth and bucking the trend of relying on players in their prime, as was advanced by Verducci. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. If the Yankees allow Chamberlain and Hughes to get their innings this season, they both will have slots in the 2010 rotation when Pettitte presumably retires. How many other players would have three under-30 home grown starters in their rotation?

While the Yankees lack of younger position players is a concern, you don't solve that problem by neglecting the pitching staff. In fact, bolstering your pitching staff (especially with arms that rely less on your aging defense) helps take pressure off the offense. While I agree Tex seems to fit like a glove, I think Matt Holliday would be even better. I firmly believe that the Yankees are looking at Tex as an alternative to Holliday and may prefer the latter, especially as the Yankees will have no outfielders under contract in 2010.

One final note...everyone's darling, the Rays, won the AL pennant with an OPS+ of 99 and an ERA+ of 116. Last year, the Yankees had an OPS+ of 101 and ERA+ of 104. If the Yankees can move their ERA+ closer to 110 and get the OPS+ back up to 105, why can't be a winnig combination. Personally, I think the Yankee offense, as constituted, can perform at the level, so maybe adding another bat is not the necessity some think (and more like adding AJ Burnett to the staff)?

8 The Hawk   ~  Dec 13, 2008 12:04 am

[7] You've made your case, and I'm not sure if you were responding to my post in so doing, but what I'm looking for - for those very concerned with what I'm looking for - is someone to argue the case FOR Burnett, when they are violently AGAINST him. I personally feel such violence is an overreaction, and that those who feel that way may be comforted by putting themselves in the Yankees' shoes and going step-by-step through the imagination exercise of picturing just why on earth the Yanks would sign ol' AJ to such a contract.

To be clear, this devil's advocate argument wouldn't merely consist of "they're idiots" or "they're nuts".

9 williamnyy23   ~  Dec 13, 2008 12:12 am

[8] I was responding to the anti-Burnett argument in general, but think your excercise is a valid one. While I can understand both sides of this trade, I don't think it is one that warrants such fervent passion. A logical case can be made on both sides, so it surprises me that some normally rational people have reacted so strongly.

10 seattleyank   ~  Dec 13, 2008 12:23 am

[7] I appreciate your argument, but why would Burnett, despite his impressive stuff, put it all together in his age 32 season if he never has before?

11 williamnyy23   ~  Dec 13, 2008 12:30 am

[10] My argument doesn't require him to put it all together. All it asks is that he be just as healthy over the next 4 seasons as he was the last 4; improve his focus (which presumably should be a lot easier pitching in front of packed houses in a pennant race), which could lead to marginal performance improvement; and continue to finish his seasons strong, positioning him to be a force in the post season.

AJ Burnett does not have to re-invent himself. The Burnett of the last four years with a little more motivation would be well worth the contract, IMHO.

12 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Dec 13, 2008 12:33 am

[10] Exactly! What is there, beyond the very small sample size of stats towards the end of last season that would convince you he will provide value from age 32-36? Toronto was not sad to see this guy opt out..doesn't that ring alarm bells??

[7] William...you said: "If the Yankees could ever harness Burnett, they would have a dominant force" he`s 32..how many guys take that long to become consistent? that IF is too chancey...

13 williamnyy23   ~  Dec 13, 2008 12:36 am

[12] How many guys have Burnett's stuff? Once again, the Yankees don't need Burnett to do anything different. Quite frankly, if you promised me his last four seasons, I would gladly take them (especially because he seems to finish strong, which is convenient for a playoff team). What makes me even more sanguine about the deal is I think he could be better, possibly because he will be more motivated by the bigger stage that is pitching for the Yankees.

14 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Dec 13, 2008 12:40 am

[13] stuff does not equal innings..this guy cannot stay healthy! you are fine with a 5-year deal for a part-time pitcher?

15 williamnyy23   ~  Dec 13, 2008 12:45 am

[14] You are exaggerating now. Burnett has started 32, 21, 25 and 34 games over his past four seasons. He has pitched almost as many inning as Beckett in that span. If he continues to finish strong, I wouldn't be surprised if he performed like him in the post season too.

16 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Dec 13, 2008 1:00 am

3 times in 10 seasons he reached 200 innings...think the will do so in even 3 of the next 5? valuewise, this signing stinks..Sheets for a shorter contract would have been worth the risk..Beckett is younger and with a much more impressive history..well, i DO hope you are right! I just have my doubts that D.L. Burnett will be striking out 9 in 7+ innings in the ALCS next year...

17 williamnyy23   ~  Dec 13, 2008 1:11 am

[14] Not to belabor the point, but over the past 4 seasons, AJ Burnett has thrown 733 innings. Roy Halladay has thrown 833 (25 more per season), Jake Peavy has thrown 800 (17 more per season) and Josh Beckett has thrown 758 (6 more per season).

Is AJ Burnett a marathon man? Absolutely not? His he a Carl Pavano-like malingerer? Nonsense!

18 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Dec 13, 2008 1:16 am

dead horse, beat...10 seasons, 3 times 200 innings...32yrs old, 5 year contract...will gladly eat my shoe at end of 2009 if Burnett takes the Kenny Rogers flag-waver position in the championship parade, but for now am not convinced...

19 williamnyy23   ~  Dec 13, 2008 1:18 am

[16] Guess how many times Josh Beckett has topped 200 innings in his 7 year career? Twice (200.7 and 2004.7).

Also, you really think Beckett's 116 ERA+ is that much better than Burnett's 111 ERA+?

What's more, you think Sheets would have been better risk? Even though he has missed time with an injury in each of the past 4 seasons (totaling only 602 innings)? Even though he ended last year with an injury, and reports have suggested the Yankees were concerned by his medical records?

I know it's catchy to call him DL Burnett, but there are too many facts getting in the way of the portrayal that so many are trying to project.

20 Cliff Corcoran   ~  Dec 13, 2008 1:24 am

He has pitched almost as many inning as Beckett in that span.

Beckett is hardly the model of consistency either. As a rule, teams should avoid large commitments to members of the early '00s Marlins (Burnett, Pavano, Clement, Beckett, Penny, Dempster).

As for the Hawk's request, here's what I think the Yankees are thinking:

"This guy has monster stuff and he killed us last year. We need pitching and with Burnett throwing high 90s four-seamers, low-90s sinkers, and nasty curveballs behind CC we can do to other teams what the Jays behind Halladay and Burnett did to us last year. Pay him whatever he wants."

It's this kind of logic that led to signing Pavano ("he was great against us in the '03 World Series"), Womack ("he got that double off Mo in Game Seven of the '01 Series"), Jaret Wright ("he beat us twice in the 1997 ALDS"), and many others. It's scouting based on isolated performances rather than track record, and it's the wrong way to run a team. Burnett was below league average against the rest of baseball last year, can't stay healthy, will be 32 in January, 36 at the end of the deal, and has never pitched up to the level of his great stuff.

21 Cliff Corcoran   ~  Dec 13, 2008 1:29 am

William, your points about Burnett's innings totals are not invalid, but check out my last post to remember that Pavano had thrown even more innings in the three years prior to his Yankee contract than Burnett has. This is how they get you . . .

As for Sheets, I was dead against going anywhere near him when the offseason began, but that's because I thought he'd get Burnett-type offers. Instead he's looking at two-year deals, and I'd rather take that risk than this one, particularly because Sheets, when healthy, has been the true ace Burnett hasn't.

22 williamnyy23   ~  Dec 13, 2008 1:33 am

[20] Beckett isn't a model of consistency, but in October, he seems to perform more times than not. Quite frankly, dominance in October could be more important than 34 consistent starts in the regular season. Burnett's late season performances lead me to believe he could be a very valuable weapon come the playoffs.

If you honestly think that's the Yankees logic, I guess I could see why you have been venting, but quite honestly, I don't think that holds any water. AJ Burnett's stuff is not just evident when he pitches against the Yankees...it is blindingly obvious to anyone who watches him pitch. Think about what you said...he has a high 90s four seamer, low-90s sinker and a nasty hook. That is a scouting report from someone's fantasy. This is simply not a case of scouting by isolated performance.

Do you also believe the Yankees signed Pavano, Womack and Wight because of their performances against the Yankees in the playoffs? Do you have any evidence of that? I find that accusation to be pretty absurd.

23 williamnyy23   ~  Dec 13, 2008 1:40 am

[21] As Keith Law succinctly stated, the comparison to Pavano doesn't hold water. Not only did Pavano have multiple injuries that impacted nearly ever season before 2003, but he only had one good season in his career without peripherals to back it up. There is an anti-Burnett argument to be made, but trying to paing him with a Pavano brush is just not accurate.

Furthermore, I just don't get your argument about Sheets either. From 2005-2007 he was beset by injuries, and unlike Burnett only returned to pitch significantly down the stretch in one of them. In other words, Burnett recovered from both of his injuries in 2006 and 2007, while Sheets was basically shut down. Even last year, when Sheets reached 200 IP, he ended the season with an injury, the status about which we really don't know.

Finally, Sheets has an ERA+ of 116 in the NL Central. Burnett has been better than that during his time in the AL East and almost as good over his career. I am not sure how one is really an ace, while the other is not. You seem to be painting his entire career with the brush of his pre-injury 2004 season.

24 tommyl   ~  Dec 13, 2008 1:51 am

[20] Cliff, I suspect you are right about how the Yankees think, and if that is really true the entire front office should be cleaned out. For all this talk about having a cohesive strategy and building from within, I see knee jerk reactions based on small sample size. Yes, AJ was lights out during the stretch run last year. He was also mediocre to bad in the first half of the season when not facing the Yankees.

William, I can think of another guy with great stuff. He had a high 90s (touching 100) fastball and a nasty, nasty low 90s slider. When he was on, he was unhittable. If only someone could harness that stuff, or help him turn the corner. Ah, Kyle Farnsworth, how we miss you. I'm telling you, AJ Burnett is the starter version of Krazy Kyle. Just wait and watch. I hope to G-d I'm wrong and he leads this team to October, but I just don't see it happening.

25 williamnyy23   ~  Dec 13, 2008 1:57 am

[24] If the case against Burnett is so strong, why does everyone feel the need to create strawmen? Farnsworth is even more asburd comp than Pavano. Burnett maintains his stuff through 6 and 7 innings, while Farnsworth couldn't throw back to back innings.

I guess I am just looking for someone who hates this deal to provide an objective argument that uses some scouting and stats-based arguments. Instead, the anti-Burnett sentiment seems to be a knee jerk reaction to the perception that Burnett is Carl Pavano, which persists inspite of the fact that nothing bears that out.

26 Cliff Corcoran   ~  Dec 13, 2008 2:08 am

William, I'll yield on Sheets. I've been sour on him for years and my change of heart really only reflected the relative commitments required by Sheets and Burnett.

As for the Pavano comparison, I make it based only on health, not on performance. I agree the comparison is not appropriate in terms of performance. I do believe it is very appropriate in terms of health, however.

As for Beckett's Octobers, note that his two postseasons prior to this year happened to come following his two best regular seasons. He was pitching well because he was healthy (which he rarely is). This year he was back to his usual ex-Marlin self and had a poor postseason which likely cost the Sox the pennant. I don't buy into the Beckett myth.

Tommy, the Farnsworth comp is a bullseye save for one thing: Kyle could stay healthy.

27 tommyl   ~  Dec 13, 2008 2:11 am

[25] There are plenty of stats based arguments, Cliff provided a few in an earlier post. The guy has a 2.25 career K/BB and last year (in his great season) had a WHIP of 1.342. His innings totals for his career are 41, 83, 173, 204, 23, 120, 209 (contract year), 136, 166, 221 (contract year). That's a lot of low innings totals. He's basically a slightly above average pitcher with a high K rate, correspondingly high BB rate and a very, very high attrition rate. And he's already 32. I don't see how that's worth 5 years and 82 million dollars, but that's just me.

My comparison to Farnsworth was in response to the arguments about his "stuff". There are a lot of pitchers out there with great raw "stuff" but many of them actually suck. In contrast, some pitchers with so so stuff seem to pitch pretty well (Maddux, Moose last year, Jamie Moyer, etc.). When handing out nearly a hundred million I prefer to have something more to go on than the fact that the guy throws hard.

28 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Dec 13, 2008 2:47 am

[27] I am with that, and with {26] about Beckett. JB has nasty stuff, and yes he helped win the BoSox a title. But if Hanley Ramirez continues to improve would you really say that was a worthwhile trade? I'd take 10+ years of a possible HOF shortstop above a great, btu oft-injured pitcher..

Likewise William, for all your arguments you still can't come up with a rational for a 5Year contract at that price..you could defend 3 or 4, but 5 years is crazy..the Yankees did NOT need Burnett like they did CC..and yes, topping 200 IP only 3 times in 10 years is worthy of Pavano comparisons..check out some of the Blue Jay blogs for more on this guy..no one questions his stuff, it's electric, but can he deliver regularly..for that money, you HAVE to be certain..

29 Cru Jones   ~  Dec 13, 2008 3:52 am

thank you, william. i logged on expecting to read nothing but the same raging anger i felt about signing AJ for FIVE YEARS for over 80 MILLION, but, after reading your posts, i have to say that i do feel a little better. not a LOT better, but a little better.

thanks. you've saved my saturday.

30 Mattpat11   ~  Dec 13, 2008 4:02 am


While it may sound like it boils down to "they're all idiots." But I truly, really think that the Yankee front office, and perhaps Brian Cashman in particular, are awful, awful evaluators of pitching talent.

They're very easily swayed by whatever the conventional "wisdom" in baseball might be, regardless of how it jives with the facts. The conventional wisdom is that AJ Burnett is a topline starter who is now "over" his injury problems and and had a dominant season last year. None of these things are likely true, but the Yankees FO is so stupid, stubborn, gullible, desperate or some combination there of that they are willing to believe it.

This is also a front office that truly believes in HE FINALLY TURNED THE CORNER, no matter how many times they get burned by it. They're so desperate to get in on the 'ground floor' of almost anything that they're willing to believe that almost anyone's career year is the beginning of a big turn around. That's how we keep getting stuck with the Wrights and Pavanos and Womacks and Farnsworths and Ponsons out there. I have a feeling we'll be saying the same about the likes of Xavier Nady if he's hitting .268/.320/.474 next year.

I also do think there's probably an element in the Yankee front office that knows this deal is likely a disaster, but fear for their jobs. AJ Burnett will likely be a bust. But IF he goes to the Braves team he's not a bust, or even if the conventional wisdom is that he's not, or if the Braves happen to win a World Championship while he's on the team somewhere regardless of what he actually does, Hank Steinbrenner will probably go nuclear. So in their minds, from purely personal standpoints, without the best interest of the team at heart, the risk of 5 years/<100 starts from Burnett is less than Burnett going somewhere else and succeeding in some way or another.

That being said, they just placed a huge bet on AJ Burnett suddenly becoming something he's never been, ten years into his career and at thirty two years of age. Bad, bad, bad move.

31 williamnyy23   ~  Dec 13, 2008 9:53 am

[27] Looking at things like Burnett's career k/bb rate is clearly misleading because it encompasses his youth, during which he was particularly wild. Even then 2.25 is pretty good. Of course, the 2.7 to 3 level he has been at for the last 5 years is even better.

Similarly, by looking at innings totals for his career, you are clouding the picture. You are treating his early years when he was breaking in as if they were full seasons. Burnett's trajectory is very easy to read. He broke in slowly, had two full seasons, then TJ surgery in 2003 followed by a shortened recovery season in 2004. Over the last four years, in spite of some nagging injuries, he has still managed to log the 33 most innings over that span, and, more importantly, as Jaffe notes above, he was the 16th best pitcher among those with at least 700 innings during that time.

Your argument doesn't really have any facts at all. He is not slightly above average (13% above average over the last 4 years is more than slightly above average); his K/BB rate is not sub par; and while he is prone to nagging injuries, his attrition rate is not abnormally high. All of your contentions are fostered by perception, but dispelled by facts.

As for Farnsworth, his scouting report would read: he throws a very hard, but straight fastball with a A+ slider that he can't control. If you think that compares to a high-90s riser, low-90s sinker and A++ curve, I am sure there are many scouts who would disagree.

32 williamnyy23   ~  Dec 13, 2008 10:00 am

[28] The Yankees aren't trading Hanley Ramirez for Burnett, which is precisely why I am not too concerned with the money. The Yankees are just spending money, One alternative would be to go after starters like Oswalt and Peavy, but that would cost prospects.

The rational for the price is plain and simple: market economics. The Braves were bidding with the Yankees, so the price went up. That's the same reason why the landscape is littered with "over paid" pitchers. Is Burnett being paid too much? Perhaps, but when a pitcher with talent hits free agency, that is what happens.

The idea that the Yankees don't need someone who had an ERA+ of 113 in 730 innings over the past 4 years is bewildering. That is exactly what they need!

Finally, if you can defend 3 or 4, then this isn't the ludicrous deal that you and others are suggesting..at least not until 2013. I am actually shocked you made that admission because it belies my point...that the anti-Burnett cascade is more emotional than analytical.

33 williamnyy23   ~  Dec 13, 2008 10:07 am

[30] I think you are wrong, but I can't argue with your perception of how the Yankees do business...it's your opinion.

One thing that is flat out wrong, however, is your contention that the Yankees are asking Burnett to become something he has never been. The Yankees are simply asking him to do what he has done over the last 4 years...if he can stay a little healthy, or refine his performance a little more, even better.

34 The Hawk   ~  Dec 13, 2008 10:28 am

[30] Right, I mean, the spirit of the argument could still be "they're stupid" or whatever, I just thought it might be useful to get into the head of Cashman, etc. Maybe it does just come down to them seeing something shiny and bright (Burnett's stuff/performance vs Yanks and Sox) and jumping on it. I suspect that they have given a lot of thought to the injury question though. As williamnny23 points out, that's really the only glaring issue with the guy. Performance-wise, he should be good, if not great ... So maybe he doesn't deserve the contract - certainly doesn't years-wise - but that doesn't necessarily mean he won't hold up his end of the bargain when you factor in the ridiculousness of the contract. In other words, he could do a reasonable job and not justify the contract in its particulars, but still justify the signing in principle.

Personally, I wonder why he chose NY over ATL. I think the money was close, but he actually WANTED to come to the big city. He seems to thrive in the spotlight, and that may work to his advantage. Barring injury (I know, I know), I wouldn't be shocked if he outdoes Sabathia this year, just based on disposition and the road that led them to the Yanks. Sabathia is no shrinking violet but he does seem to have a foot out the frigging door already; Burnett's apparent lack of intensity at times may be mitigated by the big stage.

35 zack   ~  Dec 13, 2008 11:24 am

William, Sorry i wasn't here to back you up, I started out along these same paths before you arrived, and while it is strange to be agreeing with you, you've made my earlier points much better than I did!

People are very much reacting with their heart right now and overblowing the situation. Either looking to use this to validate their already standing belief that Cashman stinks/can't judge pitching, or using their beef with Burnett to declare Armageddon.

When it comes down to it, you can hate the contract and think it is for too long, and you can think that the Yankees need more hitting than pitching, but it seems very strange to me to argue against Burnett as anything but a plus to this team.

36 The Mick536   ~  Dec 13, 2008 11:42 am

Are the Brewers really interested in Kei?

As for the dance vid, if I can't dance you can have your revolution.

I love pitching, but you still got to put some runs on the board. Think of what Mark will hit batting in front of ARod.

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