Five years, $80 million for Burnett? Say it ain’t soBy
If there’s one site you can’t miss during the off-season, it’s MLB Trade Rumors (though I’m sure you all know that). Tim works his ass off to create a place where you can find on what’s going on with the Hot Stove. This morning when I checked the site, I saw the top item on his Yankees Rumors post: The Yankees are preparing “perhaps” a five-year, $80 million deal for A.J. Burnett. Thankfully I hadn’t eaten yet, else I would have wretched all over my keyboard.
Unlike some on this site, I’m not unequivocally opposed to signing Burnett. The guy has some lightning stuff, and if healthy could provide a solid boost to the rotation, at least in the first couple years of the deal. However, we’re talking five years here, and a massive amount of money. If this rumor is true, I have little doubt Burnett will find a better offer, meaning we’d be stuck with him for half a decade.
Thankfully, this rumor comes to us from He Who Shall Not Be Named, so we can take it with a grain of salt. In fact, his use of the word “perhaps” preceding the contract figure suggests that, like many of his other rumors, he is just making this up. It wouldn’t be a surprise at all. So “perhaps” we can rest assured that the Yankees aren’t going to make an offer of this magnitude.
At least Jon Heyman admits he’s guessing when he predicts a five-year, $75 million offer for Burnett. This doesn’t make the rumor more legit, really, as it’s just a guess. Still, we now have two guys close to the Yanks saying they’re going to offer A.J. Burnett a five-year deal. This is not good.
First, this, if anything, is overbidding. The Blue Jays offered four years at $54 million. A.J. is not CC. You don’t have to blow him out of the water. So why go an extra year at freaking $26 million more than the Jays? That seems a bit absurd at this point in the off-season for a pitcher of Burnett’s caliber.
Speaking of his skills, let’s talk about the risk of offering the dude a five-year deal. We know he has electric stuff, but he’s gone over 200 innings just three times in his career. One was six years ago. One was his contract year. The other was, well, another contract year. Granted, he’s pitched fairly well in almost every season, save for his 23 innings in 2003 — which, incidentally, was on the heels of his first 200-inning season. He then pitched 120 in 2004 before pitching 209 in 2005, only to drop back off to 135 in 2006.
The Yankees need guys who will eat innings. Joba won’t be able to pitch a full season. Nor will Hughes. As it stands right now, they have one pitcher who can give them over 200 inning, and he’s coming off a foot injury. With so many question marks in the rotation, why add another one with Burnett? If the Yankees offer is true, I can’t see any team topping it. And that would mean we’re stuck with him.