With Recent Acquisitions, Yanks Need to Rid Themselves of Burnett

January 21, 2012

Since Brian Cashman traded Jesus Montero for RHP Michael Pineda, and then signed RHP Hiroki Kuroda to a one-year deal for $10 million, the Yankees are flush with starting pitchers. It appears that in all the frenzied moments of last Friday, the Yankees lost track of how many major league ready starting pitchers they really had in their organization. For purposes of this article, they have eight who have pitched in the major leagues plus three others on the precipice, who I believe are ready for the major leagues.

The starting rotation appears to be some combination of CC Sabathia, Ivan Nova, Hiroki Kuroda and Michael Pineda, with Freddy Garcia, Phil Hughes and A.J. Burnett battling for the final spot. Dellin Betances also has a few major league innings under his belt, but should pitch most of the 2012 season at Triple-A Rochester.

The old, but relatively new, adage is you can’t have enough pitching, especially quality starting pitching. With injuries invariably occurring within most starting rotations, smart organizations will have an additional veteran or several ready youngsters to fill in starts where needed.

See also: 2011 Boston Red Sox.

But even after these two starting rotation moves, if I told you the Yankees can get another veteran starting pitcher for their rotation, who, during various seasons, led his league in games started, strikeouts, lowest hits per nine innings and fewest home runs per nine innings, would you be interested?

And the guy is only looking for a two-year deal for a little over $15 million per, just enough time for Manny Banuelos to get a little more seasoning in Triple-A before he takes a spot in the rotation. And this veteran wouldn’t cost the Yankees a draft pick or any prospects.

Wouldn’t this be a good pickup? Don’t you want him? He would really round out that new rotation, wouldn’t he?

But the Yankees currently have three veteran arms vying for that fifth spot. Garcia threw very well last season (ERA+ of 122) in the difficult-to-navigate lineups of the AL East. Hughes threw the ball much better late last season, showing glimpses of his 2010 performance. However, many people believe Burnett, because he is being paid $16.5 million this season (and next), is a lock to get that final spot.

Most Yankee fans dislike Burnett, and I had previously written that the Yankees shouldn’t even have signed him.

If you had the opportunity, would you sign Burnett again if he were a free agent? Of course not. Not even for two years at a total of $33 million, that same amount the Yankees still owe him? Nope.

Yet, that veteran pitcher I previously mentioned for a two-year deal is A.J. Burnett. He did lead his league at one time in all of those categories.

Since he is getting paid very well, some people feel AJ should get that fifth spot, and somehow will make him a better pitcher.

The current theory is that since Burnett is getting all that loot, there is no reason to “waste” that money by shipping him to the bullpen to throw maybe twice every week. I disagree. A thought is that his win total likely would look better if facing the other teams’ fifth starter most of the time.

My win total would be better facing a fifth starter more often, too.

But there are several reasons why Burnett should NOT be considered for the Yankee rotation and, in fact, should not even be on their roster come opening day.

First, Burnett is not a good pitcher. Not even close. Many people say “he has great stuff.” A.J. does NOT have great stuff. Great stuff does not get you a 34-35 record in three seasons as a Yankee, especially with this offense, and ERAs over 5.00 each of the last two seasons. Great stuff doesn’t allow you to allow the most walks (2009), most hit batters (2010), most wild pitches (2009 & 2011) in the league while also allowing 81 home runs during these three seasons.

Second, A.J. has mostly been a malcontent. When things didn’t go his way in Florida late in 2005, he lashed out against the team and was suspended for the balance of the season. During his Yankee tenure, Burnett appeared with a black eye, which no one in the organization talked about. Do you really think that if his role with the Yankees was reduced, he would abide by Joe Girardi’s decisions regarding his reduced playing time?

And forget about Burnett to the bullpen. The Yankees already have Mariano, Robertson and Soriano, with Joba coming back mid-year. They don’t need Burnett stirring up garbage down there.

Third, A.J. will not improve his performance. He is what he is, a mediocre pitcher who USED to have the best fastball in baseball. He also has a good curve ball, which he cannot control and rarely throws consistent strikes with the pitch. He has no command over either pitch, and that costs him dearly. Like 81 HRs dear over the last three seasons. As I said last off season, new pitching coach Larry Rothschild would not be able to “fix” Burnett.

Even though Burnett did stop lots of his movement during his delivery, it still did not help his command. How many times have you seen the Yankee catcher set up outside and A.J.’s pitch is delivered up and in or, even worse, down the middle, and it gets whacked pretty hard?

Too many times to count.

Fourth, A.J. is getting worse. He was terrible the second half of last season, getting bombed in most of his starts. His slash line allowed was .316/.387/.554/.942 OPS with a 6.85 ERA and 1.746 WHIP. All that with a K/9 rate of 9.3. So much for a pitchers ability to get strikeouts.

In Burnett’s 13 year career, he has had eight full seasons with minimum of 25 starts. His two worst seasons of those eight? Yep, his last two seasons, all in Yankee pinstripes. And his 2009 season wasn’t all that great, either.

What makes you think AJ will suddenly turn it around? His glowing personality? The way he glares at Kim Jones after a biting question after another bad start?

If A.J. was in the starting rotation, the Yankees would get a .500 or worse pitcher who loses concentration on the mound, and cracks under pressure.

Fifth, the Yankees are paying Phil Hughes $3.2 million this season. The Yankees are not paying Hughes that much money to pitch in the bullpen…at least not during the first half of the season. Hughes has been the Yankee golden child since being drafted in 2004, and the Yankees want to see how he looks as a starter this season before deciding whether he will become another bullpen arm, especially after his improved performance late last season. I just wish Hughes would stop throwing that cutter, as I feel it’s a velocity reducer.

Sixth, Freddy Garcia is a better pitcher, with better stuff than Burnett, and is currently signed for 2011. In 2010, Garcia had a better season than Burnett and appears to be a better teammate. Garcia took Nova under his wing last year and was a guiding force in Nova’s development. Don’t think for a second that Garcia will not be as equally valuable to the recently acquired Pineda. Unless Garcia gives them permission (a possibility now), the Yankee cannot trade Garcia until at least June. I hope they keep him around.

Let’s say Burnett repeats what he averaged over the last three seasons. That would be a sub .500 record, ERA of 4.79, BB/9 rate of 4.0, HR/9 rate of 1.2 with a WHIP of 1.447. Those are the numbers of a kid prospect usually puts up his rookie season. Hell, Zach Britton of the Baltimore Orioles had a better season than Burnett last year. Would you rather have a kid prospect putting up those numbers or A.J. Burnett? I even feel that as a fifth starter, A.J.’s attitude would worsen and his actual numbers would not even be that good.

So why not have David Phelps or Adam Warren, two pitchers who I feel are major league ready get those necessary starts? I have confidence both guys could at least replicate, or likely better, Burnett’s numbers from the last two seasons. In his most recent chat (1/19/12), ESPN’s Keith Law said he feels both Phelps and Warren are “major league ready, back end starters.”

I agree, and the Yankee would be better off with one of them in the rotation rather than AJ Burnett.

With a plethora of major league ready pitchers plus two (if not three or four) major league ready prospect starters in the minors, there is no room for Burnett on the staff, either in the rotation or the bullpen.

That means he should not even be on the roster.

But no one wants to trade for Burnett. The Yankees found that out when they shopped him over the last couple months. But those trade proposals had the Yankees paying about half of Burnett’s salary for the next two seasons. No team in its right mind would trade for Burnett and pay $16 million to him.

Well, maybe Kenny Williams of the Chicago White Sox would, as he did for Alex Rios and Jake Peavy. Maybe Williams would trade Gordon Beckham for Burnett.

Seriously, though, the prior trade proposals did not match what the trend is for other veteran, high-price pitchers. That is for the current team to pay MOST of the salary, like the Chicago Cubs did with Carlos Zambrano to the Miami Marlins, and Atlanta Braves did with trading Derek Lowe to the Cleveland Indians. The Yankees should be willing to pay $30 million of the current $33 million Burnett is currently owed. That would then interest a few teams.

That is money wasted, but what good is it having Burnett pitch due to his salary, if he continues to pitch very badly? That is like a stock trader throwing good money after bad money when the bad stock goes down in value. Burnett’s salary is already a sunk cost. No reason to hurt the Yankees in 2012 by pitching Burnett, especially with good team like the Tampa Bay Rays, Boston Red Sox, Los Angeles Angels, Texas Rangers and maybe the Toronto Blue Jays fighting the Yankees for the precious few playoff spots.

If the Yankees pay most of Burnett’s salary, certain teams like the San Francisco Giants, Oakland A’s, and Detroit Tigers might be tempted; all teams who pitch in big parks, which Burnett might benefit. But a team like the Kansas City Royals with all their kids, they might need a veteran to allow the kids like Mike Montgomery and to develop a little more.

As told to the Kansas City Star’s Bob Dutton after Kansas City re-signed Bruce Chen, Royals general manager Dayton Moore said “We’re not done. We’re still looking to add another pitcher.”

No matter what team would want Burnett, it is imperative for the Yankees to rid themselves of a guy who really isn’t any good. If no trades can be made, I would vote for an outright release. There are much better opportunities for the Yankees rotation and bullpen now and in the future.

New York Yankees: Can Pitching Coach Larry Rothschild Really Fix A.J. Burnett?

November 26, 2010

All the New York Yankees news the past week or so has been about Derek Jeter and his new deal. How much will Jeter “settle” for and will the Yankees come up from their three-year, $45 million deal. Also, some Mariano Rivera news has popped up. Will the Yankees give him a two-year deal?

But one big story a couple weeks ago was the hiring of new Yankee pitching coach, Larry Rothschild. His big job would need to be “fixing” A.J. Burnett, a bad pitcher locked into an $82.5 million body.

Larry Rothschild really has his work cut out for him.

Tons of articles about how Rothschild needs to find out what is wrong with A.J. Burnett, identify those faults (which are many) and “fix” A.J. Burnett’s mechanics.

That is going to be very difficult.

You see, Burnett is entering the third year of a five-year contract which is paying him $16.5 million per year. Chump change for most of us, but real money to Burnett.

Burnett is also going to be 34 years old in 2011, has a dozen seasons of pitching in the major leagues on his ledger and has thrown 1,770 major league innings. Rothschild has pitched a total of 8.1 innings during his major league career.

Do you really think Burnett is going to scrap the way he has pitched for more than 12 seasons to go along with a guy who doesn’t have enough innings for even one complete game?

I don’t think so, because even though A.J. is deemed “a good guy” by most of the Yankee beat writers, I see Burnett as a guy who cares only about himself.

Burnett has had his share of incidents with the teams he has played. First, he was kicked off the Florida Marlins team in September 2005 for detrimental comments about the manager, Jack McKeon, and the organization.

He was kicked off the team! The Marlins said, “Get lost, we don’t want you around here anymore!”

Burnett also showed up one day this season with a black eye. No one has said what happened, but I would not be surprised if Burnett popped off to someone in the locker room (Jorge Posada?) who took matters into his own fists… I mean, hands.

As I wrote in the past, I would have stayed far away form A.J. Burnett two winters ago. He showed to have a bad attitude and only performed well in arbitration and his walk years. I even had a huge discussion about it on 1050 NY ESPN radio host Michael Kay. His last comment was “that is who the Yankees really want.”

The Yankees should have passed on Burnett. When you look into Burnett’s career, he really hasn’t had one dominant season, not even a few really good seasons. He has always gotten by on the fact that he “has great stuff.” But when you can’t get hitters out on a consistent basis, you don’t have great stuff.

Even Burnett’s “good” 2008 season in Toronto, he was 5-1 with a 2.05 ERA against the Yankees and Boston Red Sox, but only 13-9 with a 4.93 ERA in all other games. Typical Burnett of pitching well in a walk year against two rivals, but not doing well otherwise.

Now Larry Rothschild will be looked upon to save the big (black eye) guy. While it is somewhat easy to recognize pitching faults and work with the pitcher to correct them, it is much more difficult to get past the pitcher’s mental faults.

Burnett has many mental faults and it will be tough to get him to change those to become more confident and to concentrate more on each pitch.

Physical faults can be corrected.  

The biggest issue is that Burnett does not have command of his fastball. How many times do you watch a game and the Yankee catcher is set up on one corner or the other and Burnett throws a fat pitch right down the middle?

Too many times. And when the ball does not travel over the middle, it usually misses way outside or way inside, often hitting the batter. In fact, Burnett led the major league in hit batsmen in 2010 with 19.

No control with or command of the fastball, which is always what you hear manager Joe Girardi say after bad Burnett outings. Burnett’s pitches move too much.

Easiest thing to do to “fix” Burnett is to have him throw his fastball right down the middle. They can first test A.J. to see if maybe he has his A game and can hit the corners. But that rarely happens so move to Plan B is needed.

Since Burnett can not hit a corner on a consistent basis, the thing to do is have the catcher set up for fastballs right over the middle of the plate—every fastball, every time. Then, when A.J. has his movement going, or he is not concentrating, the pitches he throws to the glove will miss to either side and be near or right on the corners.

Tough for hitters to take those pitches and even tougher for them to hit.

We used to do this in college with high velocity guys who could not locate and Davey Johnson convinced this was the way to go with Sid Fernandez back in the 1980s. El Sid was a really good pitcher for the New York Mets during their heyday, allowing precious few hits but tons of free passes.

This tactic couldn’t be any worse than how A.J. performed in 2010. Throwing the ball down the middle could only be better, but the Yankees would never do something as simple as that.

In 2010, A.J. has had his worst statistical season as a full time starting pitcher. Worst strike out rate, worst WHIP, worst HR rate, worst ERA and almost worst walk rate.

That has to be a really bad FIP.

So they will attempt to “fix” Burnett’s mechanics.

Let me help out the new pitching coach with identifying Burnett’s mechanical issues.

Burnett uses a big hip turn where he shows the number of his uniform and his back pocket to the hitter. No need for this as it does two things. This provides no benefit to velocity and actually pulls Burnett away from the forward momentum he should be delivering directly to the plate.

What this big backwards hip turn does is reduce his velocity by creating excess movement during the delivery. Velocity has nothing to do with the strength of your arm, but the power of your core including a powerful hip turn after the front foot lands.

The big hip turn will also usually cause the lead leg to swing out and straighten when the lead leg should remain in a bent position. It is not good when the front leg acts like a swinging gate.  As I said earlier, a big turn of the hips is good after the front leg lands, not before it.

A swinging gate front leg often causes the landing foot to plant in different spots, away from the mid-line to home plate, causing the aforementioned reduced velocity and any concept of control of his pitches 

Add in the fact that Burnett does not concentrate on every pitch and that is a recipe for disaster. A disaster which turned out to be his 2010 season.  

Repeating mechanics is very difficult for Burnett because of so much movement and lack of concentration. Similar to what Dontrelle Willis has been going through since, well, forever.

First step to “fix” Burnett is to eliminate his aggressive backward hip turn and have him bring the lead leg up, down and out. Eliminating all the excess backward movement will increase Burnett’s velocity and improve his control.

As I mentioned earlier, the toughest thing for Rothschild to “fix” is Burnett’s mound demeanor and concentration. Burnett doesn’t seem like he really cares out on the mound. Several pitches in a row look good, then four hits and two walks later, the Yanks are down by three.

Only thing which works on the mental aspect is to treat the player like a child. Take things away, like his spot in the rotation. But that will never happen with all that money being paid to Burnett.

I can’t see Burnett listening much to what Rothschild says. If Burnett proves me incorrect, then it would be great all around for Yankee fans, but I just don’t see it based upon his track record of individualism.

You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.

Best thing for the organization is to try and work a trade for A.J., eat lots of cash and let a young kid from the system take his spot. Get rid of the black cloud of having pressure on Rothschild to “fix” Burnett and having constant questions after every one of Burnett’s bad starts.

With Andy Pettitte looking like he will return for one more season and the almost certainty of signing Cliff Lee, the Yankees can afford to take a hit by trading Burnett (limited no trade clause) and using a kid (Ivan Nova, David Phelps?) as the fifth starter.

They couldn’t do any worse than the 10-15, 5.26 ERA and 1.511 WHIP Burnett put up last season.

Biggest way to fix Burnett is to not have him around anymore.

New York Yankees: Derel Lowe is a Better Free Agent Risk Than AJ Burnett

December 4, 2008

Even though Derek Lowe at 36 years of age is four years older than AJ Burnett, he is the better long term option for a team getting their free agent money’s worth.

The main reason is that Lowe is more durable because of his tremendous mechanics.

Since becoming a full time starting pitcher in 2002, Lowe has averaged 33 starts and 208 innings per season, and is one of only two current players who have played ten years in the majors without going on the disabled list. (The other is Brad Ausmus).

Meanwhile, Burnett has topped 29 starts (and thus 200+ innings) only three times in his ten year career: the first in 2002, the season before his arbitration year; the second in 2005, the season before his free agent year; and in 2008, before his opt out year. It appears Burnett is more of an opportunity pitcher – whenever it will benefit him, AJ will pitch effectively.

While Lowe has had an injury free career, Burnett has been on the disabled list at least 11 times, mostly for elbow injuries – and in 2007 with shoulder problems.

There are many theories about why certain pitchers can handle excessive workloads (like Lowe), while others have recurring problems (like Burnett).

Many people talk about pitch counts, the amount of throwing between starts, and the most popular theory of all – innings increases from year to year. This last theory was recently popularized by Sports Illustrated’s Tom Verducci.

He produced data about certain young pitchers who had increased their innings by 40 or more from one season to another, and suffered injuries or ineffectiveness within the next two seasons.  But, despite all these new precautions regarding the safety of pitchers, there are still dozens of disabled list trips each year for pitchers, and it appears orthopedic surgeons will never go out of business – especially those surgeons working with the Toronto Blue Jays pitchers.

With all the precautions foisted upon hurlers, why do the injuries still occur? It has nothing to do with pitch counts or innings limits, but that many young pitchers have terrible mechanics. The main factor in avoiding injuries is good, old fashioned proper pitching mechanics.

Derek Lowe has tremendous mechanics and AJ Burnett does not, and while Lowe will be able to throw the ball injury free till he retires (just like Greg Maddux and Roger Clemens), Burnett will continue to have stints on the disabled list.

Pictures tell a thousand words, and in order to prove my point, you are going to have to do a little work. Above is a picture of Lowe with the Dodgers. His pitching mechanics are perfect, putting the least amount of stress on his elbow and his shoulder.

In the picture, Based upon the point of the delivery, Lowe’s front foot is just landing. See how his throwing forearm is pointing up at the exact same time? That is the perfect position for the arm when the front foot lands. It is the classic power position for a pitcher, similar to when a hitter “loads up” before his swing. Although pitchers compete against hitters, the mechanics behind both pitching and hitting are very similar in regards to balance, loading of the weight and trunk rotation.

In this picture, Lowe’s arm is in perfect position to throw the ball with very little additional stress on the elbow and shoulder. Also notice how Lowe’s elbow is just BELOW the shoulder and not above it.

A misconception in pitching is that a pitcher needs to have his elbow higher than the shoulder in order to throw “downhill.” That is wrong and leads to extra stress in the shoulder joint. Having the elbow higher than the shoulder at this point (what I consider a “winged arm action”) causes a timing problem with the arm. This causes the arms to hurry and “catch up” with the body, which puts a major strain on both the elbow and shoulder.

Both Burnett and Josh Beckett have the same type of “throwing downhill” motion, which I believe is the likely cause of Beckett’s 2008 shoulder problems. At worst that pitcher can have his elbow EVEN with the shoulder.

Although you cannot see it in the picture, Lowe has the desired “down, back and up” motion after he breaks his hands, leading the backward motion with his throwing hand AND NOT HIS ELBOW. When a pitcher leads with the hands, the arm comes up into the correct vertical spot when the front foot lands. I call it the Double L, the Lock and Load position.

Click here to see an image of Burnett. With Burnett’s front foot about to land, see how his forearm is pointing down and his elbow is higher than his shoulder? Many pitchers, including Burnett and Jake Peavy, have their forearms pointing down (and lead with their elbows) when their front foot lands. 

I have spoken to several scouts and pro pitching coaches who feel this is the worst thing a pitcher can do within his motion. Similar to Lowe, however, Burnett begins his break by leading with his hand, BUT THEN DURING THE MOTION, brings his elbow up higher than the shoulder, a major pitching fault, leading to additional stress loads on both throwing joints.

This motion of Burnett and Peavy is the main reason why both have experienced elbow troubles, and why they both will continue to experience them in the future.

Back to the Derek Lowe image. Pitching velocity is less about arm strength and more about explosive hip rotation. That is why a 150 lb pitcher like Tim Lincecum can throw so hard – his hip rotation is tremendously explosive. See Lincecum’s motion here and notice how his hips turn well before his shoulders turn. His arm is also in the correct power position.

Now, go back to Derek Lowe’s image from cnnsi.com and look at his hips. They are turning, but his shoulders are staying closed (pointed towards the plate). The hips need to open first BEFORE THE SHOULDERS, so the core can build up the arm speed. When the shoulders open too fast, it puts too much strain on the shoulder and elbow.

Burnett’s and Peavy’s front shoulders open way too soon, causing extra load to both the elbow and shoulder. See Peavy’s motion here. Elbow higher than the shoulder and front shoulder beginning to open before proper hip rotation. A major injury waiting to happen.

Lowe’s mechanics are the reason he has never been injured and has gone seven straight seasons without missing a start due to injury. Also, the fact that Lowe throws a lot of sinkers, and doesn’t rely on the violence of the slider like Peavy, is another factor in the health of Lowe. While the slider is a very effective pitch, it is absolutely the worst pitch for the elbow. 

Based on Lowe’s great mechanics, I would sign him in a heartbeat over AJ Burnett and over trading for Jake Peavy, two guys who will not fulfill their long term contracts. Even though Lowe is much older than the others, the history of his durability and the lack of violent pitches in his repertoire show he is a better long term risk. For the local teams, both who have interest in a free agent pitcher or two, the durability of Derek Lowe runs circles around the other two big names available.

For those Yankee fans who are concerned about CC Sabathia’s durability over an even longer 6 or 7 years deal, rest assured that the big guys arm action is pretty good. This is a big reason why he has been able to throw as many innings as he has over the last couple years.

Sabathia compares favorably to other “big” pitchers such as Sid Fernandez, Fernando Valenzuela, Rick Rueschel, Mickey Lolich, David Wells and Livan Hernandez, guys who are bigger than your average pitcher. They all have had long, successful careers, primarily due to sound mechanics.

New York Yankees: AJ Burnett is an Injury Risk, a Bad Guy and Should Be Avoided

October 14, 2008

One of the major names in the possible pitcher free agent market is current Toronto Blue Jays right hander AJ Burnett. I say possible because Burnett is under contract for the next two years, but has the right to opt out of the contract after this past season. Coming off a 18-10 record with a league leading 231 strikeouts, Burnett is sure to have many suitors if he does opt out.

Those who want AJ Burnett to be a Yankee should check out the online picture of Burnett from Sunday’s October 12, 2008 NY Post article on Burnett/Sabathia by Joel Sherman.

Burnett’s mechanics reveal he cocks his wrist on his backswing and has his forearm down about the time when his front foot lands. This arm action is the worst mechanics a pitcher can possibly have. He, along with Jake Peavy, both have the “winged” arm action – a tremendous precursor to major elbow and shoulder problems.

When the hands are broken and the throwing hand begin to drop, a pitcher such as Burnett begins his backward rotation with the elbow instead of continuing to lead with the hand in a down, back and up motion. What then happens is that the throwing elbow gets higher than the shoulder at the point of front foot landing, leading to a timing problem. The arm then has to violently come forward very quickly to throw the ball. 

This puts a big strain on the elbow AND the shoulder.  

And while Burnett has had his history of elbow problems, his mechanics over the years have not changed. Burnett is destined for more elbow problems.

Other pitchers who have the same type of mechanics as Burnett include Chris Carpenter, Joel Zumaya, Shaun Marcum, BJ Ryan, Mark Prior and Kerry Wood.

Besides Prior who had major shoulder issues, what do all these other guys have in common with Burnett?

Arm surgeries, most had Tommy John surgery while Prior had shoulder issues.

Burnett had Tommy John surgery in 2003, and then had a “less serious” elbow injury at the end of 2004. And don’t forget how Burnett was dismissed from the Florida Marlins at the end of the 2005 season because of his ranting outbursts against the team and his poor overall pitching down the stretch.

At the end of 2005, Burnett lost six consecutive decisions, including four losses in five starts (with an ERA in that span of 5.93) during the Marlins’ failed wild-card chase that September.

Also, AJ Burnett doesn’t appear to be such a hard worker, who is willing to play hard all the time. Burnett has had three seasons in which he has thrown 200+ innings: the 2002, 2005 and 2008 seasons. All these seasons came in front of either an arbitration or free agency season. Not exactly a guy who is going all out all the time.

Burnett seems to be the pitching version of Manny Ramirez.

The only way I would take AJ Burnett on the Yankees is for Burnett to sign a one year contract and let him earn the next contract and continue with this process for several seasons. It could even be for $20 million each year and continue to go up every season. That way the injury bug won’t bite the Yankees that bad when Burnett gets shelved.

Let’s see…a history of elbow problems, a bad attitude in Florida and not exactly a tireless worker. Definitely makes him destined to be a great Yankee.

I hope Brian Cashman reads these blogs and comments and realizes Burnett wouldn’t work in New York.

Imagine Burnett having to answer repeated questions why he is the second coming of Carl Pavano?

I don’t care how many times Burnett can beat the Red Sox. He’s only 11 games over .500 for his career and has a high career ERA – not exactly a great pitcher. One good season before pending free agency is the worst time you can sign a player.

Yanks should stay far away from AJ Burnett.