$243.5 million worth of pitching acquired in the last two days … kinda takes your breath away, huh kids? Here’s the news:
- Over at ESPN.com, Keith Law doesn’t have a major problem with the signing of Burnett:
I’ve seen Burnett compared to Carl Pavano by fans, but the comparison doesn’t hold. Pavano was more injury-prone at the time he signed with the Yankees than Burnett has been; Pavano had had shoulder or elbow trouble in just about every season of his career until he rattled off two straight healthy years with Florida. Pavano also had nowhere near Burnett’s raw stuff, nor his ability to induce strikeouts or ground balls. It is, of course, possible that Burnett’s tenure with the Yankees will resemble Pavano’s; pitchers do get hurt, and Burnett has some affinity for the trainer’s room. But Burnett brings an upside to the table that Pavano never did — that of a shutdown No. 1 starter who, in the Yankees’ rotation, will always be pitching in the spot of a No. 2 or 3 starter.
- Ken Davidoff of Newsday thinks the Yanks should tell Andy Pettitte to just move on, but … :
Call Andy Pettitte, and tell him sorry, but his time is up. Keep in touch, keep in shape. Maybe he can do a Roger Clemens-esque return close to the All-Star break — at the $16-million salary he wants, moreover, just prorated.
With A.J. Burnett coming aboard Friday, the Yankees have four high-end starting pitchers in CC Sabathia, Burnett, Chien-Ming Wang and Joba Chamberlain. That’s your October starting rotation right there, and it’s superb.
So don’t give up entirely on the youth movement. Allow Alfredo Aceves, Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy a chance to contribute from that fifth starter’s role, rather than overspending on the fading Pettitte. Maybe Phil Coke and even Andrew Brackman can get into the mix.
One veteran official from an American League club wisely noted, “It’s not the five spot that’s been the Yankees’ problem.”
- At the Post, Joba Chamberlain approves of the signings:
“The way our front office did things today was fantastic,” he said. “They went about their business and got things done, and it is very exciting.” …
“I feel less stress because you have all these guys around to be leaders for you,” Chamberlain said. “It takes a little pressure off of everybody.”
- Also at the Post, Johnny Damon likes the moves:
“All of us saw how he dominated us,” Damon said of the right-hander, who was 5-3 with a 2.39 ERA and held Yankee hitters to a .213 batting average and fanned 72 batters in 71 2/3 innings. “We always said if we had this guy we would have won the past three years.”
Burnett, who forfeited $24 million across two years in Toronto when he opted out of his contract, is one of the elite AL hurlers when right. However, injuries have plagued him.
Still, Damon is wild about teaming Burnett with CC Sabathia and Chien-Ming Wang. Chien-Ming Wang
“On most teams, Sabathia, Burnett and Wang would be No. 1 starters,” Damon said. “We have three No. 1 guys.”
- The Times’ Dave Anderson has an appreciation of the newest member of the Hall of Fame, former Yankee Joe Gordon.
- On this date in 1985, Roger Maris passed away at the age of 51. On this date in 1980, Elston Howard passed away, also at the age of 51.
- On this date in 1960, the two new AL franchises, the first expansion teams in over a half of a century, select their rosters in the first ever expansion draft. The Los Angeles Angels make New York Yankees pitcher Eli Grba the first selection of the draft, and the ‘new’ Washington Senators follow by tabbing another Yankee pitcher, Bobby Shantz.
- On this date in 1961, on the heels of his record-breaking season, Roger Maris’ request for a $75,000 contract is denied by New York Yankees GM Roy Hamey.
- On this date in 1982, the Cardinals swap blue-ribbon prospects Bobby Meacham and Stan Javier to the Yanks for three minor leaguers – Bob Helsom, Marty Mason, and Steve Fincher. Some observers think this is a “make-good” to New York for sending Willie McGee to the Cardinals last year in exchange for pitcher Bob Sykes.
- On this date in 1994, the Bombers obtain pitcher Jack McDowell from the White Sox in exchange for minor league P Keith Heberling and a player to be named later (Lyle Mouton).