Well hello again! One thing you can always count on as a Yankee fan is drama and, boy, has it been a dramatic few days. The Yankees are finalizing a 5 year/$82.5 million deal with former Blue Jays pitcher Allan James Burnett. And to be honest with you, after scouring the internets and forums last night and today, I’m not totally sure how I feel about the deal. So, my fellow jockr-ites, I invite you to join me as I make up my mind while I write this post.
Let’s start with the cons:
1. Burnett is injury prone. He’s been on the DL 8 times since 2000.
2. He has made only two 30+ starts in his career.
3. He’s going to be 36 by the end of the deal, i.e. the five year offer was too long.
4. He takes up room in the rotation that could be filled in by promising minor leaguers who will be making their way up in the next couple of years.
And the pros:
1. When he’s on, he’s on. He had the most strikeouts in the AL last year and was third overall only behind (you guessed it!) CC Sabathia, and Tim Lincecum.
2. He’s projected as our #3 starter behind CC and Wang, which is flat out ridiculous for someone who could slot in easily as a #2 or even #1.
3. He’s going to be 32 by the beginning of the deal which is not very old at all.
4. He adds pitching depth that was vitally absent from 2008’s rotation and if he breaks down we have a number of arms in the minors (e.g. Hughes, Aceves) who could take his place.
See what I did? Every con argument has a corresponding pro argument. I’m such a clever East Coast liberal.
So what can we deduce from this process? Well, not much, except for what he’s done in the past. In other words, Burnett’s future performance is just too hard to predict. The flashes of brilliance, the injuries, the attitude issues. We just don’t know how Burnett is going to perform over the next five years, let alone in 2009. Who knows? He may love NY and pitch fantastically well, or he could hate Joe Girardi and have attitude issues until Girardi gets fired after the season because they didn’t make it it to the playoffs again, or he could be Pavano part deux. I know it’s hackneyed to use that conclusion, but it’s cliché for a reason. We really just don’t know, especially with a guy like Burnett. But my gut reaction is that it was a good move. Burnett always shut the Yankees down (and had success against the Red Sox, and the rest of the AL East for that matter going “20-5 with a 3.29 ERA against New York’s divisional opponents in Tampa Bay, Boston, Baltimore and Toronto”), and he’s a strikeout pitcher which the Yankees sorely missed last year. A lineup of CC, Wang, AJ, Joba, and Pettitte/Sheets/Aceves/Hughes is pretty fucking awesome if you ask me. But I wonder if signing Pettitte is the right move for Cashman to make next considering the Yankees could really use some more help on the other side of the ball (that means hitting help to all you non-baseball people).
So will the Yankees enter into the Teixeira sweepstakes? I think not. As much as I would love to have the guy, I don’t think the Bombers have THAT much $$$. That should bring a smile to Dex’s face, though I think the Angels are going to outbid his beloved O’s in the end.
On a small side note, the Yanks may trade Melky Cabrera for Mike Cameron and some combination of money, or Kei Igawa, or something. Cameron can play some mean defense and he hit 25 dingers for Milwaukee last year, but I’ve always had a special place in my heart for the Melkman. I followed him coming up through the minors, and he showed signs of becoming Bernie Williams 2.0 (especially in the beginning of the 2008 season), but he was utter shit (curdled melk?) after the first week in May. So if it happens, it happens, but Robbie Cano is going to be one lonely man if the C&C Baseball Factory breaks up, and that makes me sad.
But for now, all eyes are on the Tex deal…