Friday, December 12, 2008

It's Official (Sort Of): Burnett Is Bronx Bound

I left work a few minutes before 5pm. As I was sitting in my car waiting to merge onto the highway, I felt a little vibration in my pocket. I figured it was the wife. I pulled out my cell and it was a text message from my man Danny Mac. I knew it could only mean one thing and sure enough I was right. A.J. Burnett is the newest Yankee. About 2 seconds after I got the text, they reported the same thing on XM via Ken Rosenthal. The text was from ESPN so I'm crediting Jerry Crasnick with breaking the news.

According to the article, a baseball source (would love to know what that means) is reporting that the 2 sides reached a preliminary agreement for 5 years and $82.5 million dollars, which is $16.5 mill per year. I'm not a huge fan of the deal as I'm not really a Burnett guys, but the Yankees desperately need starting pitching and he was arguably the 2nd best available SP next to CC Sabathia. I kind of preferred Derek Lowe To A.J. purely because he's proven to be more durable, but I think Burnett has much better stuff and if he stays healthy, he'll dominate. He's already shown he can pitch pretty well in the AL East and I'm not sure Lowe would fare as well. I'm OK with the signing. It's risky, really risky, but it could pay off huge, assuming he stays healthy.

The Yankees rotation is now pretty stacked if you ask me. The 1-2-3 of Sabathia, Wang and Burnett is arguably the best 1-2-3 combo in the league. That trio is easily capable of pitching deep into ball games. Barring injuries, I wouldn't be surprised if they each top the 200 inning mark. And they all very well could be under the Yankees control for the next-half decade assuming Wang sticks around and CC doesn't opt out of his deal, which I don't see happening unless he absolutely hates pitching in NYC. Now add Joba to the mix. Joba has ace stuff and his only question mark is his ability to stay healthy. He's not going anywhere anytime soon. A 1-2-3-4 of Sabathia, Wang, Burnett and Joba is for my money has the potential to be the best rotation in the game. Joba will likely be on an inning limit this year which will mean his starts are likely going to top out at 20-25. I think the Yankees would be wise to slot those 10-15 starts to Phil Hughes and/or Alfredo Aceves.

The only remaining unanswered question right now is who the Yankees are going to get for the 5th spot in the rotation. I really hope it's a short term deal. Ideally, I'd like to see them bring back Andy Pettitte because it would only be for 1 year. If not Pettitte, the only other short term option I can think of is Ben Sheets. The Yankees have already expressed interest in him and I believe they are reviewing his medical records. sheets is another oft injured pitcher and it wouldn't surprise me in the least if the Yankees get some unfavorable results from his medical records. I don't think the Yankees would be wise to offer any long term deals to any free agent SPs, which means I think Derek Lowe is now out of the mix. At least I hope he is. If they happen to give someone a long-term deal it pretty much means that there would be no room at the inn for any SPs in the Yankees farm system. If that's the plan, they might as well start exploring deals for Hughes and Kennedy because I think they would be foolish to keep them in the minors beyond the 2010 season. if they're looking long-term, perhaps Cashamn will reach out to the Padres and explore a deal for Jake Peavy. I know Peavy wasn't looking to pitch in the AL but with the Padres inability to deal him to the Cubs, who knows what the Pads or Peavy are now willing to do. My prediction: Pettitte comes back for 1 more year at $12 million.

I think it's pretty safe to say that as of right now the Yankees are the biggest winners this offseason. I think they still need to add 1 big bat. Mark Teixeira would be ideal but I don't see that happening. I wouldn't be surprised if it does though. The Yanks have landed 2 of the top free agent pitchers and they might just want to go for the jugular and send a message to the rest of the league. Signing Mark Teixeira would be a deathblow to the rest of the AL East.

I say they go for it. What say you?

Peace, love and Pinstripes,



mikew said...

I say go with the best defensive centerfielder in the organization and bat him 9th. Forget Cameron. As much as I like and respect Petitte and would love to see him end his career in the new Yankee Stadium I would use whatever combination of pitchers within the system to hold down the 5th starter position. With the $20 million saved by not having Petitte and Cameron I would strongly go after Tex. This upgrades defense and offense at no (or minimal) additional cost over Petitte and Cameron.