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News of the Day – 12/14/08

$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.

“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).

Categories:  Diane Firstman  News of the Day

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1 Mattpat11   ~  Dec 14, 2008 10:51 am

Still don't know when AJ Burnett has ever been a "shutdown number one starter," even when healthy. A career high in ERA+ of 122 in substantial innings or who regularly has a WHIP near or above 1.3 is not "shutting down" anything.

2 Raf   ~  Dec 14, 2008 12:43 pm

[1] The masses don't understand such metrics as ERA+ & WHIP, they see what he did last year with the Jays, and what he has done against the Yanks. While I don't agree with these people, I see where they're coming from.

Still not too crazy about the signing, but I feel better about this than the Pavano signing.

3 williamnyy23   ~  Dec 14, 2008 12:58 pm

[1] Burnett has been a shut down starter for significant stretches, but I agree that he hasn't put together an entire shut down season. While I do believe that eventual culmination remains a best case scenario, the Yankees simply need him to do what he has done over the past 4 seasons, especially if he continues to be at his best in September.

[2] I am absolutely certain that Keith Law knows ERA+ and WHIP, and I think his analysis does a great job articulating the pro-Burnett case (mostly because I've been saying the same things for days :)

4 seamus   ~  Dec 14, 2008 1:09 pm

howdy folks. strange new digs in these bronx banter parts.

I'm pretty ok with the Burnett signing except for the length. But we'll see about it. Looking forward to 2009!

5 Raf   ~  Dec 14, 2008 1:41 pm

[3] The masses, as referred to the general public. The ones who saw that Burnett won 18 games with a 4th place team, therefore he should win 25 with the Yankees.

6 Chyll Will   ~  Dec 14, 2008 1:45 pm

[4] Good to see ya made it, man. I'm beginning to look at it as a good way to keep the roster spot warm for the potential starters of the future in a way that doesn't imply that the responsibility of winning doesn't fall squarely on them (like last year with Phil and IPK); instead, the young guys can be fill-ins when the inevitable DL runs occur. I would expect Sheets to be the next signing if this were the case... not a bad line of thinking since the team has the youngsters in the system to back it up.

Overly optimistic maybe, but under the circumstances I've got to look for silver somewhere...

7 seamus   ~  Dec 14, 2008 1:58 pm

[6] yeah i missed these parts but as the team slumped I couldn't read all the doom and gloom.

I think what you say makes sense. what I don't know is how it works out. I gotta think that if we bring Pettitte back, with IPK and Hughes and company sitting in the wings they will get plenty of opportunities. Might work out better for them. I still expect big things from Hughes if he can stay healthy. And Joba still has his innings limits right? Ultimately we just need to get back to kicking ass. Pitching is key as it blew up on us this year. THough it was sweet watching Moose get his 20. sour sweet but sweet nonetheless.

8 Pete   ~  Dec 14, 2008 2:23 pm

I don't expect Burnett to dominate entire seasons as someone like a Sabathia or Santana could do, but if he becomes something of a David Cone type and pitches well down the stretch & into the playoffs, I don't think you'll hear anyone complaining about his salary or if he's hurt for a few weeks every year.

At least, that's what I'm hoping.

9 Chyll Will   ~  Dec 14, 2008 3:23 pm

[7] Assuming that Wang survives the season owing that Girardi and whoever is coaching third learned something from last season, you got two big inning eaters to balance the limits on Joba and Phil, plus if the team signs Pettitte it makes their load easier to deal with (also accepting that Pettitte would be more sturdy than A.J.) I can almost make sense of this, which means I need to turn up the ether a little more >;)

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